Over the last 15 years in the Caribbean, there have been observed improvements in early warning systems. There are a growing number of tools, equipment and capacities and these vary both by hazard and in space. Despite the continued investment in Early Warning Systems (EWS) and notable progress in some regions, including the Caribbean (Collymore 2016; UNISDR 2015), movement towards integrated multi-hazard warning systems, though evident, may be characterized as slow (Collymore, 2016). One area requiring improvement is the governance framework for EWS, and specifically the absence of policy, noting the results of the application of the MHEWS Checklist in 4 CDEMA participating states1 and the priority areas for attention outlined in their national MHEWS roadmaps. Recent experiences with catastrophic hazards events, together with the availability of guidance for setting up EWS policy, including from Caribbean regional assessments and findings (such as the checklist reports) among others, present an optimum watershed opportunity to craft a model national MEWHS policy that is evidence-based and anchored in the CDM approach.

 

Small island states share several commonalities as small open island economies, including – often - a narrow natural resource base and a narrow production base with heavy dependence on the services sector, especially tourism. The catastrophic impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the troubling scenarios projected by scientists on the effects of climate variability, as well as other potential hazards in the seismically active Caribbean region, have led to the development of the Pathway to Resilience for the Caribbean (emerging from the Regional Platform 2018 in Cartagena and presented to the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in July 2018).

 

In April 2017, the first Caribbean Safe School Ministerial Forum was held in Antigua and Barbuda. During this event, the Caribbean Declaration and the Road Map on School Safety were adopted. The second Ministerial Forum on School Safety in the Caribbean is therefore a follow-up, which will respond to the need for a more collaborative and coordinated approach among actors in the region’s education sector.  The lesson learnt from the 2017 Hurricane season will feed into a revised version of the Road Map for School Safety. One of the outcomes of the forum will be to increase the number of countries joining the Caribbean Safe School Initiative.   

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CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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