From left: Pilar Orduña, Oxfam; Raul Salazar, UNISDR; Rafael Emilio de Luna Pichirilo, National Emergency Commission of the Dominican Republic; Virginie André, ECHO; Florence Vanhoutte, European Union, during a presentation on DIPECHO 2015-2016. (Photo: EU/ECHO/J. Zulaika)
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, 9 June 2015
– Moves to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction have received a boost from international funding to help Caribbean governments achieve the goal of making communities more resilient in the face of natural hazards.
European Union funding worth US$10 million will support 14 risk reduction projects through to the end of 2016. All told, more than 400,000 people are set to benefit, in a region frequently confronted by floods and hurricanes, as well as threats such as landslides and earthquakes.
The Sendai Framework, adopted by the international community in March, charts a global course for disaster risk reduction through to 2030. It puts a strong emphasis on understanding and reducing current, emerging and future risks, in order to stem the number of lives lost and rein in growing economic damage. It builds on the Hyogo Framework, a far-reaching agreement struck in 2005 just weeks after the Indian Ocean Tsunami and which guided global disaster risk reduction efforts for a decade.
A key element of the implementing the Sendai Framework in the region involves building the resilience of nations and communities under a joint programme run by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) through its Regional Office for the Americas.
The goal is to reduce the impact of natural hazards by preparing vulnerable populations affected by frequent disasters to reduce risk themselves, thereby bolstering their ability to recover. Other aims include strengthening state institutions in disaster risk management issues, as well as training journalists, professionals and the construction sector.
The funding comes from the European Commission's humanitarian arm, ECHO, and will be channeled through its DIPECHO disaster preparedness programme.
“Effective implementation of the Sendai Framework requires at the same time to work closely with national and local efforts to strengthen resilience. Therefore, the implementation of regional programmes supported by ECHO is key to achieve the common goal of reducing the impact of natural hazards and saving lives,” said Mr. Raul Salazar, Regional Officer of UNISDR.
Other projects carried out between partners of DIPECHO and national risk management services include simple and inexpensive measures for communities, such as risk mapping, emergency plans, early warning systems, education campaigns and small infrastructure projects.
“Through the DIPECHO programme, we support local and national efforts in order for institutions and communities to better anticipate the potential impact of any natural adverse event, and to limit their consequences. The focus is on strengthening capacities and changing attitudes to save lives," said Ms. Virginie André, at the helm of ECHO’s Caribbean operations.
In the Dominican Republic alone, more than 80,000 people are set to benefit from US$2.7 millions’ worth of projects, implemented at national and local, institutional and community levels in rural areas as well urban and peri-urban districts prone to recurrent disasters, principally in the provinces of Dajabón, San Cristobal and Pedernales.
"The joint role in future projects of institutions in the integral management disaster risk sector and the agencies involved in executing these projects will ensure an approach that prioritises the
most vulnerable communities,” said Major General Rafael Emilio De Luna Pichirilo, President of the National Emergency Commission of the Dominican Republic.
Across the region, implementation will be supported by international bodies including the World Health Organization and Pan-American Health Organization, UNDP, UNESCO and UNISDR, as well as the Red Cross, Oxfam, Plan International, Habitat for Humanity, Cooperation Assembly for Peace, and Solidarity Alliance.
Since 1994, ECHO has allocated some US$545 million for humanitarian assistance to the Caribbean, with US$78 million of that for disaster risk reduction and preparedness. It advocates the integration of disaster risk reduction into wider development policy – which is also the philosophy of the Sendai Framework.