The Association of Caribbean States meets with UNISDR and IFRC to discuss Regional Cooperation

تم النشر: 15 مارس 2016 23:18 CET

Caribbean communities are under the constant threat of natural hazards, such as hurricanes, flooding, volcanic activity and earthquakes.  These hazards and their consequences not only pose risks to the physical safety of these communities, but to their properties, livelihood and their capacity to recover and overcome the damage brought on by these hazards.  It is becoming more and more apparent that communities must, in the long term, become the primary actors in their own risk management and humanitarian organizations must work these communities as equal partners in achieving local, national and regional resilience.  Moreover, humanitarian organizations recognize that the increased and improved collaboration between them is a key factor in fully integrated efforts towards community resilience.

Sharing this common vision of working with communities and increased interagency work, Ambassador Alfonso Múnera, Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), visited the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) at their Americas regional office in Panama City, Panama.  The visit, which took place on February 23rd, 2016, was an opportunity for Ambassador Múnera to meet with regional disaster risk reduction actors, including IFRC staff led by Walter Cotte, Regional Director for the Americas, as well as staff from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), led by Ricardo Mena, Regional Director of the Americas office.

The purpose of this meetings was for the three organizations to discuss and exchange ideas on promoting resilience in Caribbean communities with a focus on disaster risk management and climate change adaptation.

The work undertaken by ACS, UNISDR and IFRC share common ground in increasing community action in the Caribbean, working together through the One Billion Coalition for Resilience, a global call to action for coalitions across all sectors and levels to make one billion people across the world more resilient by the year 2025.  The three organizations discussed the climate change related risks and vulnerabilities faced by Caribbean communities, where there is a clear need for work in protecting local ecosystems to incorporate nature based disaster prevention and mitigation solutions.  The alignment of disaster management frameworks across the countries in the region and how each of the three organizations can complement each other’s work under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction was also discussed.

UNISDR and IFRC are currently involved in a number of projects in the Caribbean with the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) under the DIPECHO framework, developing community based initiatives for climate change adaptation, national and regional action plans and resilience building.  IFRC is also developing a regional proposal with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a non-profit organization specializing in the preservation of the natural environment, for joint projects on community resilience through ecology based adaptations to reduce the risk of climate change related disasters.

Ambassador Múnera shared that the next summit for heads of state in the Caribbean in June would be an excellent opportunity to present a proposal on joint work between the three institutions through an action plan on climate change adaptation and community resilience in the Caribbean, as well as engage in the pertinent discussions in a dedicated session at this summit.  The conversation took on a global perspective upon discussing the need for a space to promote discussions and exchanges with islands in the South Pacific, a region that faces the same risks and vulnerabilities as the Caribbean as Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Ambassador Munera’s visit ended with a tour of the IFRC regional offices, where the opportunity was taken to share the organizations’ shared ambition and vision of work in the Caribbean.