Community-based disaster risk management is a critical and essential part of the process of building a nation’s preparedness and resilience to disasters. This was the message from the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Director of Projects, Michelle Cross Fenty, as she launched disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation projects in two parishes in Jamaica.
The two projects are being funded through the CDB administered Caribbean Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF). The Trinityville Area Integrated Land Management and Disaster Risk Reduction Project in the parish of St. Thomas received a grant of USD640,696, and the Jeffrey Town Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction Project in the parish of St. Mary has been given a grant of USD649,644.
Both communities will be implementing activities to reduce land slippage and erosion; help farmers cope with the various impacts of climate change on local agriculture; and also raise community awareness about environmental protection, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
Ms. Cross Fenty acknowledged that the impact of climate change will continue to bring significant challenges that will fundamentally affect the livelihoods of communities and that there is need for adapting to what is the evolving future.
“We must recognise that this evolution also provides the opportunity to do things differently. We can find innovative approaches, intellectual ways to adapt to our evolving climate and environmental conditions and in so doing fundamentally influence the development of our communities and more importantly ensure a brighter future for the coming generations. In short we strive for optimized resilience. Being better prepared, being able to withstand and recover from these environmental setbacks as individual communities and as countries,” Cross Fenty said.
The Director of Projects noted that the involvement of individual and communities is one to create a better prepared and more resilient country.
“One of the many lessons learned by CDB from its experience working on these issues is that this process of resilience building must be shared, it must be carried out at several levels it cannot be confined only to government, national and local government level agencies and institutions.
For CDB the evidence is clear, reducing vulnerability to natural hazards will not succeed unless individuals and communities share the responsibility with local and national institutions. There must be a change in attitude,” she said.
Both projects will implement strategies that will rehabilitate and construct climate resilient infrastructure; improve food security and income generating opportunities; and build awareness and skills that increase the communities’ resilience to climate change.
Specifically, the Jeffery Town project activities will include the construction of a solar powered water catchment to increase access to portable water during drought conditions and train farmers in the production of drought tolerant crops. While the Trinityville project will plant trees to combat the effects of deforestation as well as retrofit and rehabilitate the Danvers Pen Community Centre to serve as an Emergency Shelter.
The Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund was established in 2013, with a grant of USD20 million from the Government of Canada. This was in keeping with that country’s overall program to promote a more prosperous Caribbean community able to generate sustainable economic growth while providing opportunity and increased security to its citizens especially those that are more vulnerable.
The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development has since provided USD3.1 million, while the European Union has contributed USD2 million.
The primary objective of the CDRRF is to support community based disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation initiatives.