UNDP continues to support the Annual Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM)
The UNDP’s Subregional Office for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) provided US$170,000 to support the recently concluded 6th Annual Comprehensive Disaster Management Conference (CDM) in Trinidad and Tobago, coordinated by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
Since 2006, the CDM Conference has united disaster management and other thematic experts to share best practices, research and ongoing projects to improve disaster risk management as a way to make Caribbean economies more resilient. UNDP has supported the annual conference, from its inception.
At the conference, participants shared their experiences and programmes to decrease the likelihood of hazards such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes escalating to disastrous proportions. It was an opportunity to learn from the small island states in the Pacific how they cope with natural and man-made events to prevent disasters. UNDP’s support to the CDM Conference was also an opportunity to continue to reiterate the importance of disaster risk reduction as a means of building economic and social resilience in the Caribbean and reducing environmental degradation.
Meteorological representatives from the 18 CDEMA Participating States attended this year’s conference, and were able to network with disaster management offices and strengthen their understanding of the role of the Met Offices within the disaster management cycle. UNDP made this participation possible through a project funded by the Government of Italy entitled “Enhancing Resilience to Reduce Vulnerability in the Caribbean (ERC)”.
ERC is being implemented by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) and UNDP Barbados and the OECS, in collaboration with CDEMA.
Participants from the British and Dutch Overseas Territories also shared best practices and innovation in disaster management. Their attendance was facilitated through another UNDP project, the Regional Risk Reduction Initiative (R3I), funded by the European Union.
The R3I team took the opportunity to highlight the project’s achievements to date by screening their video entitled, “Building Resilience in the Caribbean: reducing hazard risks through capacity building and partnership”and conduct a demonstration of the CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) Early Warning System.
UNDP also sponsored three sessions of the conference which facilitated discussion on: The Evolving Role of Civil Society in Disaster Risk Management; The Changing Space for Applied Science, Education and Research in advancing Disaster Risk Management; and Innovation in ICT: Applications for Managing Disaster Risk.
These sessions highlighted some of the best practices throughout the Caribbean and the Pacific which are contributing to the successful engagement of multiple actors in the risk management process, and promoting stronger regional cooperation and the technological evolution of risk mitigation tools.
Mr. Ian King, UNDP Disaster Risk Reduction Programme Manager presented the donor coordination arrangements – The Eastern Caribbean Donor Group for Disaster Management (ECDGDM) – through which all development partners in Barbados and the OECS work to respond quickly and effectively when a disaster strikes. The ECDGDM is led by the United Nations.
As the premier disaster management platform in the Caribbean, the CDM Conference continues to play a leading role in the sharing of best practices and the strengthening of networks amongst relevant professionals in the Caribbean. UNDP will continue to support the CDM process, by facilitating national and regional participation, as well as contributing to the meeting’s technical discussions on reducing the hazard vulnerabilities in the region, which can so easily cripple development, deepen levels of poverty and increase levels of inequalities.