The countries of the region face a common threat in natural hazards. Most countries are small and resources are scarce or non-existent for each to carry out tasks of disaster risk management on an individual basis. Significant economies of scale can be realized through a regional effort to integrate disaster risk management into one of the driving economic sectors in the region, tourism.

Tourists tend to see the Caribbean as one marketplace. If one part of the Caribbean is deemed to have been devastated this easily is reflected as a reduction of flow of visitors also in the other parts of the region. Each territory will benefit individually and collectively from reduced interruption, losses and dislocation as appropriate risk management procedures are implemented.

A stronger risk management will make the tourism sector more competitive and benefit Caribbean economic and social development. In addition the potential loss reduction will decrease the need to redirect external resources available to regional programs to offset economic dislocation from disasters. Hazard induced shocks can be devastating, not only to individual countries but to the regional economy and the Caribbean Single Market as a whole.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) signed a Letter of Agreement in February 2007, which formalized the terms of a Grant in the amount of US$800,000 in support of the Regional Disaster Risk Management for Sustainable Tourism in the Caribbean Project. The Grant is financing the development of a regional disaster risk management strategy for sustainable tourism including the formulation of standards for vulnerability assessments and risk mapping applied to the tourism sector; and institutional strengthening of the CDERA, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), and other stakeholders in disaster risk management for sustainable tourism.

The broad goal of the project is to reduce disaster risk in the Caribbean. This will only be achieved in a number of years and will be measured in terms of diminished loss of life, property damage and economic dislocations.

The development objective of the project is to begin to effectively realize and embed comprehensive disaster management (CDM) into the development process of the Caribbean countries and to strengthen CDERA to help achieve this. Achievement of the development objective of the project will be measured by the number of countries in the region that begin the process of incorporating CDM into their overall development strategies.

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