Wed | Jan 20, 2021

Earth Today | CANARI moves to make Eastern Caribbean hurricane-ready

Published:Thursday | October 17, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Hurricane impacts in Barbuda 2017.

IN RECOGNITION of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2019, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) has announced a new three-year project to focus on improving local resilience to hurricanes and climate extremes in the Eastern Caribbean.

Entitled ‘Civil society-led solutions for community-based and ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and resilience in the Eastern Caribbean’, the project targets in particular Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica and Grenada.

It is funded by the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) and will be implemented up to 2022.

“Building resilience of local communities, associated livelihoods and local ecosystems is a critical priority to reduce impacts from hurricanes and climate extremes and speed up recovery,” CANARI said in a release.

In the last few years, the Caribbean has experienced a number of increasingly destructive hurricanes and tropical storms, with current research showing that storm intensity is strongly influenced by climate change.

Significant hurricanes

The project countries have all experienced significant hurricane impacts: Grenada from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and Antigua & Barbuda and Dominica from hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

Ecosystem-based and community-based approaches to disaster risk reduction, which focus on conservation, sustainable management and restoration of natural ecosystems, and on engaging at-risk communities as part of the process to reduce disaster risk and help people and systems adapt, have, therefore, become increasingly important.

Among other things, a regional dialogue will be held to gain common understanding on and best practices for building resilience, what this means for Caribbean SIDS and the role of CSOs.

“Partner CSOs will subsequently be supported with small grants and mentoring to undertake participatory vulnerability assessments and practical Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction and community-based disaster risk reduction actions in up to six high-risk communities, aimed at improving local capacities to respond to extreme weather events,” CANARI said.

“A central aspect will be to ensure knowledge and lessons from this are effectively shared through development of communication products and creation of a community of practice via a regional Action Learning Group,” the entity added.

Project beneficiaries will include around 4,000 persons living in six high-risk communities, half of them women, as well as national disaster offices and CSOs working in disaster risk management in the target countries.