CDEMA hosts Geographical Information Systems Training for its Participating States

Bridgetown, Barbados June 9, 2022– The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) successfully hosted an online training for its Participating States between 9th May 2022 and 3rd June 2022 in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in the Caribbean region. The online training consisted of six (6) self-paced training modules, culminating in two (2) days dedicated to a simulation exercise where the participants were tested on the knowledge gained in a controlled scenario under time constrained conditions.

Twenty-two (22) participants from across thirteen (13) CDEMA Participating States were introduced to the geospatial platform of the Caribbean Risk Information System (CRIS) called the GeoCRIS. This course focused on the GIS datasets available within the GeoCRIS and how to use these datasets in the creation of mapping products to support disaster response activities in the Caribbean.

 Speaking during the opening session of the simulation exercise, Elizabeth Riley, Executive Director at the CDEMA Coordinating Unit expressed congratulations to those who recently completed the third offering of the GeoCRIS self-paced training conducted over May 2022 and said, “The CDEMA CU continues to actively position GIS into its operations, through its emergency response activities as well as throughout its disaster risk management (DRM) and climate change adaptation (CCA) projects.” “The CDEMA Coordinating Unit recognises that digital transformation is essential to positioning our CDEMA System for the future. It is within this context that CDEMA developed and launched the Caribbean Risk Information System (CRIS) in November 2020”, remarked Riley.

The purpose of the course offering was to continue to build capacity across the CDEMA PSs on the GeoCRIS – the geospatial platform of the CRIS, which is a multi-faceted virtual platform that hosts risk management data and information accessible to stakeholders to facilitate analysis, research, and greater awareness of disaster risk management (DRM) and climate change adaptation (CCA) in the region. The CRIS also 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.

Elizabeth Hughes, Executive Director at MapAction, said “This has been another excellent exercise with strong investment from everyone to prepare teams with a strong information management foundation for the challenges that climate change will continue to throw at us for the foreseeable future.”

The main outcome of the simulation exercise was for participants to apply the information management tools within and around the GeoCRIS to tackle an emergency response by providing a simulation of a potential real-world scenario where remote assistance may be required for Information Management (IM) support to CDEMA or a member state following a disaster. The simulation also tested the learning on the GeoCRIS, the OpenStreetMap (OSM) tools and remote mapping (QGIS) in a scenario.

"The simulation exercise was instrumental in highlighting the strengths of shared response coordination for effective management of a disaster event. It shows how time can be saved by outsourcing some critical actions to external partners. Typically, most of the geospatial tasks are assigned to one or two individuals, which significantly reduces the number of products that can be produced in a timely manner", commented one participant.

The development of the GeoCRIS was facilitated in collaboration with the World Bank, MapAction and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap, with financial support from the European Union (EU) in the framework of the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program, managed by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. Additional resources are also provided by the Canadian Government through Global Affairs Canada to further the development and awareness of the CRIS.

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Keith Goddard

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St. Michael


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