THE CARIBBEAN RISK INFORMATION SYSTEM (CRIS)
The Caribbean is the second most hazard prone region in the world; and, it has been reported over the last decade that the region suffered annual losses estimated at US$3 billion . Diverse hazards affect the region and include those which are categorized as hydro-meteorological, seismic, geological, biological and man-made. With respect to climate related hazards, the extent of these damages due to current climate variability (short term impact) is already evident and is expected to increase with climate change (longer term impact). The impact of global climate change poses a significant threat to the region’s development as evident in the experiences of affected Participating States over the years.
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) recognizes the inextricable linkage between climate change and natural disasters and development. Disasters disrupt livelihoods and directly impact social and economic advancement, which makes it more difficult for countries in the region to spur sustainable development.
Outcome 2 of the Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM Strategy) 2014-2017 speaks to the need for enhanced knowledge management to understand disaster risk through the sharing of information and knowledge. At the global level, this is mirrored in Priority one of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030). Disasters exacerbate existing vulnerabilities including those associated with poverty. As such, it is important that appropriate knowledge, science and data are available to provide an evidence base for development decision making. Against this backdrop, and on the heels of the historic Climate Change Conference – COP21 held in Paris, December 2015, it is critical for the Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean to adopt and integrate climate change resilience and disaster risk reduction in development. In order to achieve this, improved access to information on all hazards including climate induced hazards and how to reduce risk from disasters is paramount for knowledge based decision making to build disaster resilient states and promote sustainable development.
2. WHAT IS THE CARIBBEAN RISK INFORMATION SYSTEM (CRIS)?
The Caribbean Risk Information System (CRIS) is a multi-faceted virtual platform that hosts risk management data and information accessible to stakeholders to facilitate analysis, research, greater awareness of risk management and climate change adaptation in the region. The CRIS contributes to the region’s sustainable development efforts by enhancing and strengthening disaster risk and climate change information sharing to drive evidence based decision making processes at all levels.
3. RATIONALE FOR ESTABLSIHING THE CRIS
CDEMA recognizes that there is need for improved understanding of the present and future vulnerabilities to climate change as articulated in the Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change. The Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Strategy (2014-2024) also identifies the need for generating the evidence required to increase information and knowledge associated with hazards, climate change, disasters and disaster related matters. CDM advocates a holistic approach to DRR and CCA and addresses all hazards, all peoples and sectors. An overarching pillar of the CDM agenda is increasing knowledge management and learning for informed decision making.
To this end, a series of stakeholder consultations were facilitated between March 2015 and August 2015 to solicit the views of key partners in development and disaster risk management (DRM) on how best CDEMA could advance the sharing of information and knowledge. Key partners and stakeholders including members of CDEMA’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), the Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) and the Physical and Environmental Planning Sector Sub-Committee (PEPSSC) identified the need for better understanding and contextualizing of disaster risks in the region. This pointed to the need to develop a system that would provide for accessing, analyzing, researching data and information on DRR and CCA.
Therefore, the CRIS as an integrated platform facilitates the sharing of information among stakeholders in DRM and CCA to ensure better execution in preparedness and response as well as contribute to effective development-oriented planning.
a. General Challenges in Coordinating Fact Based Information Systems
There have been a number of initiatives embarked on to produce a similar result but over time very few have survived or remained functional. This often results from:
Lack of data and information sharing protocols among agencies
Lack of standardization (minimum) of datasets leading to incompatibility of databases to facilitate research etc
Irregular or un-sustained hosting capacities
Poor access to data and information
Limited understanding of use of data and information
4. STRUCTURE OF THE CRIS
The CRIS comprises information and data gathered from various sources. Stakeholders in the CDEMA system are encouraged to share information and knowledge in DRR and CCA.
Specifically the CRIS:
Provides access to DRM and CCA information developed internally by CDEMA and externally by regional and international development partners;
Maintains a repository of key disaster risk management documents for each CDEMA Participating States including policies, plans, procedures;
Provides access to geospatial data with specific focus of demonstrating how risk information can be incorporated into developing hazard specific maps and aid development-oriented planning;
Maintains project reports to assist in research and information sharing;
Support the online monitoring and evaluation system that will promote the results based performance management approach adopted by CDEMA for delivery on the CDM and;
The following diagram (Figure 1) illustrates the key sources of information to be shared via the CRIS.
The primary beneficiaries will be CDEMA Participating States particularly actors in the National Disaster Organisations, staff of the Coordinating Unit and DRM and CCA partners. These groups will benefit directly from the articulation and development of the CRIS. Private sector agencies, students and individuals may also benefit from accessing the platform.
6. EXPECTED RESULTS
The Caribbean Risk Information System (CRIS) meets the requirements of its primary stakeholders
Information portals of the CDEMA Coordinating Unit strengthened for efficient collection of and easier access to current and relevant resources pertaining to DRR and CCA
Promotion of the CRIS within the CDEMA system towards strengthening information sharing for informed decision making on CDM
7. GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND VALUES
The developing and hosting of the CRIS will be guided, inter alia, by values of excellence, equity, participatory approaches, accountability and transparency.
I. Building those components which fall under the CDEMA’s remit for development
II. Fostering the environment for the maintenance of information led by other agencies
III. Encouraging the enabling environment for those areas which fall under other agencies which need to be built or developed from the start
Regional Ownership - Sources of information and responsible entities for the CRIS are multiple. As such, partners are key repositories of existing information and data. Partners will retain responsibility for areas that under their purview and mandate.
Build upon existing elements eg. CDEMA’s virtual library; DEWETRA, GEONODE; CHARiM; DESINVENTAR
Accessible to all - levels of access will apply to certain categories of information