Caribbean Development Bank Advances Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Agenda of Borrowing Member Countries

The CARICOM agenda for reducing risks and building resilience in Caribbean Communities got a much-needed boost recently. 23 disaster risk management and community development professionals from 15 countries gathered at the headquarters of Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for an intensive five-day workshop on project design and implementation organised by Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF).

Speaking at the opening Ceremony of the Workshop, CDB’s Vice-President (Operations) emphasised the need for a broader reach and deepened relations with Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs).

“We want to optimise the facility provided by CDRRF to assist in building capabilities at the community level.  We see the need for CDRRF when we consider the fact that communities can be affected extensively by the impact of natural hazards. That they can be displaced, experience disruption in livelihoods and even have security and personal safety reduced.  The need to help build community resilience becomes quite evident. CDB is keen on consolidating its relationship with BMCs”, stated Mrs. Patricia McKenzie.

CAPTION: CDB’s Vice-President (Operations), Patricia McKenzie shared some camera time with Steven Hillier (second left), Disaster Risk Reduction Adviser of the Department For International Development of the United Kingdom. Also in photo are Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA and Andrew Dupigny (right), Acting Director of Projects at CDB.

CDB’s commitment to strengthening national mechanisms for community resilience building was bolstered by the synergies created with the support of international development partners with a shared vision for the Region. The harmonisation has resulted in increased investments in initiatives for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA).

The Region’s disaster management agency echoed those sentiments. “Communities are the first line of defence in preventing disasters.  It is, therefore, essential to deepen engagement beyond disaster management offices. There is an urgent need to participate with community actors to reduce risks and build capacity and resilience”, noted Mr. Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

He went on to make a case for more targeted investments in CCA.

“The Caribbean accounts for less than one percent of greenhouse emissions yet most climate change-related projects are heavily concentrated on energy emissions.  Resources must be more effectively used. Focus must be shifted to dealing with the every-day present and future risks to lives and livelihoods. Strengthened and sustained community resilience is one of the key priority areas within the Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy.  It is an area in which CDEMA has made significant investments in the past and continues to support based on requests from Member States,” Mr. Jackson said.

The aim of the workshop which was facilitated by Mr. David Logan, was to broaden participant’s view of CDRRF and increase their capacity to assist community groups to design local solutions that meet CDRRF’s funding criteria.

As such, participants were exposed to exclusive content for the design and development of CDRRF projects. Topics included the development of performance measurement framework and the importance of identifying correct indicators. Other areas of learning covered designing work breakdown structure and procurement plans as well as undertaking social and gender analyses as participants were exposed to the project management cycle.

The workshop further allowed for some focus on environmental impact assessment, project costing and scheduling; all within the framework of DRR/CCA projects.  The trainees also benefitted from rich experiences as they delved into live project ideas.

As BMCs move to capitalise on the skills passed on by CDB, it is expected that there will be an influx of innovative and transformative projects with tangible results that can produce lessons for DRR/CCA. “While you were exposed to CDB’s way, the range of topics remain very useful.  The skills garnered will suit the design and implementation of development projects across the board, not just CDB-funded projects”, remarked CDB’s acting Director of Projects, Mr. Andrew Dupigny as he closed the workshop proceedings.

The Project Design and Implementation Workshop is the first of its kind for the CDRRF. They will form part of the knowledge management efforts of a wider USD25.78 million grant facility funded by CDB; Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada and Department For International Development of the United Kingdom. CDRRF aims to build community capacity for disaster risk management through adaptation to climate change and reduction of vulnerabilities and building resilience to the impacts of natural hazards.