UNDP’s recently developed DRR flagship programme “5-10-50” is dedicated to addressing this challenge in support of the Sendai Framework for Action. 5-10-50 aims to enable 50 countries to move towards risk-informed development over a period of 10 years, through 5 mutually reinforcing interventions: risk assessment and communication, inclusive risk governance, urban and local-level risk management, preparedness and early warning–early action, and resilient recovery.
Central problems relating to Preparedness and Early Warning Systems (EWS) include “weak warning and poor response leading to increased life and economic losses from disasters, thus harming societal resilience and hindering sustainable development”. Most mortalities and economic losses result from hydro-meteorological disasters including floods, storms and droughts, indicating a failure of early warning and preparedness systems, since timely warning and response can reduce losses. Cumulative negative impact, contributed to in part by inadequate early warning systems, can result in disease, displacement, increased poverty, and shock to family and community wellbeing; at a national level, the lack of early warning and preparedness in face of an imminent threat can result in damage to natural resources, eco-systems and human resources, increased social unrest and civil conflicts, and shock to national sustainable development goals.
Some of the solutions to address such challenges include strengthening capacities of national DRM authorities and hazard monitoring/forecasting departments; strengthening early warning communication to decision-makers, stakeholders and at-risk communities; enhancing coordination between different actors for effective transmission of early warning; applying a variety of technologies and means of communication for targeted audiences; and building community based preparedness and response capacity. There are many existing EWS initiatives in the Caribbean, but, as recognized in the Caribbean EWS workshop report (Barbados, April 2016), EWS still needs to be strengthened.
This project will contribute to some of these solutions in the Caribbean, addressing specific challenges and needs at a national level, drawing on existing expertise and tools.The project uses established networks of IFRC, CDEMA and UNDP building on complementarity on competences and responsibilities to strengthen EWS in the Caribbean.
One component of the project strategy is to strengthen integrated EWS at a national level, in five targeted countries through access to tools and transfer knowledge through horizontal sharing of knowledge. Another component of the strategy is to strengthen access across the region to tools. An existing online toolkit will be expanded, increasing the number of the uploaded documents; the IFRC community based toolkit will be updated and tools will be translated into the languages of the region. At a regional level, the project will work in close coordination with Oxfam that is implementing a complementary DIPECHO project in the Caribbean.