Sharing What Works: South-South Cooperation for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Caribbean

Jun 23, 2015

The Risk Reduction Management Centre South-South cooperation pilot involved six Caribbean countries: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands, Guyana and Cuba. Photo: UNDP Cuba

Havana, Cuba – Disasters need not be deadly and its risks can be greatly reduced, particularly when local governments and at-risk communities are involved, according to a new UN Development Programme (UNDP) publication Sharing What Works: South-South Cooperation for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Caribbean, launched here today.

The report describes the South-South Cooperation experience of transferring a successful Cuban risk management model to five Caribbean countries, as part of the Caribbean Risk Management Initiative (CRMI) project.

The Risk Reduction Management Centre (RRMC) is an important tool for local government, which allows for the adequate collection and analysis of risk and vulnerability information by sectors and local actors in order to inform local government disaster management and development decisions. This model was developed by Cubans to effect a more integrated and decentralized approach to disaster risk reduction.

“This launch represents an opportunity to stress the importance of disaster risk management, and its integration into the development paradigm, particularly for Small Island Developing States and in line with the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals,” said Myrta Kaulard, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Cuba during the report launch.

The Risk Reduction Management Centre South-South cooperation pilot involved six Caribbean countries: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands, Guyana and Cuba. Cuba provided the training and technical assistance necessary to adapt and implement a pilot RRMC in each of the other five countries. Each country adapted the model to complement its institutional structures, resulting in five RRMCs, nine community early warning points, three risk and vulnerability studies and six national trainings.

The publication, launched at the CRMI closing event, shares the stories and lessons learned by a diverse set of stakeholders as they engaged in south-south cooperation as a tool for strengthening their disaster risk reduction systems. The publication outlines the South-South Cooperation model utilized in this pilot, and analyzes lessons learned in the process of implementing a six-country adaptation process.

Each country recounts how it adapted the Cuban model, the challenges encountered, and the results achieved. The publication discusses the roles of different actors, including triangulating actors, and ways to improve sustainability of South-South Cooperation initiatives.

The publication launch also included the dissemination of a multi-media and a factsheet which help understand the RRMC model and contemplate the integration of risk reduction and climate change at a local level in addition to land management and urban resilience.

At the Third World Conference Disaster Reduction in March 2015 Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stated that disaster risk reduction favors sustainable development; prioritizing prevention can save billions of dollars in damage and loss associated with disasters.  The Caribbean Risk Management Initiative aligns with the Conference outcome document, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

The publication launch was attended by regional counterparts working on disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change, such as the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and Climate Change Centre of the Caribbean Community (CCCCC), national officials of climate change and disaster management offices from Cuba, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago,  Belize and Jamaica, UNDP officials from Barbados, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the UNDP Regional Centre, and embassy representatives from Trinidad and Tobago, Norway, Russia and Colombia.

Contact Information


Geraldine Becchi, Disaster Risk Policy Advisor, RSCLAC
geraldine.becchi@undp.org

Jacinda Fairholm, CRMI Project Manager, RSCLAC
jacinda.fairholm@undp.org

Rosendo Mesias, Programme Officer, UNDP Cuba
rosendo.mesias@undp.org

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