The Targeted Support to CDEMA Project and Comprehensive Disaster Management

The Targeted Support to CDEMA Project was conceptualized to assist CDEMA with its mandate of building resilience in the region. Funded by Global Affairs Canada, the ultimate outcome of the project is improved Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) action in the 19 Participating States. The project contributes to the strengthening of Comprehensive Disaster Management in the region through its financial and technical support to the CDEMA system.

What is Comprehensive Disaster Management?

CDM is defined as “the management of all hazards through all phases of the disaster management cycle – prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation - by all peoples- public and private sectors, all segments of civil society and the general population in hazard prone areas. CDM involves risk reduction & management and integration of vulnerability assessment into the development planning process.”

History on CDEMA’s CDM Strategy

CARICOM adopted a Strategy and Results Framework for CDM in 2001. The goal was to link CDM to development decision-making and planning.  Five  years after the region embraced CDM, there was significant advancement but the need for strengthening and deepening CDM mainstreaming remained.

In 2007, CDEMA revised the Strategy within a Results Based Management (RBM) Framework using the baseline study for and expected results from the 2001 CDM Strategy and Results Framework. Strong government structures were identified as critical to building community resilience and mainstreaming CDM into national and sectoral planning. In addition, a number of cross cutting themes were highlighted:

  • Adaptation to climate change and climate variability
  • Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development and their link to the MDGs
  • Use of information and communication technologies in CDM
  • Integration of gender issues in CDM
  • Institutional Capacity and Institutional Support to the CDM process.

In 2013, CDEMA led broad based stakeholder consultations amongst CDM stakeholders to inform the development of the 2014-2024 Strategy and Framework.  The goal of the new strategy was to realize “Safer, more resilient and sustainable CDEMA Participating States through Comprehensive Disaster Management,” supported by four priority areas and 16 regional outcomes as represented in the CDM Logic Model.

The priorities of the 2014-2024 CDM Strategy are:

  • Institutional Strengthening
  • Knowledge Management to support evidence based decision making;
  • Mainstreaming of CDM in Key Sectors
  • Building Disaster Resilience

Gender, climate change, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and environmental sustainability are cross-cutting themes in the implementation of the CDM Strategy, all of which have been supported by the Targeted Support to CDEMA Project.

How the Targeted Support to CDEMA Project takes action to support CDM


Strengthened operational readiness to respond to natural disasters at the regional, sectoral, national and local levels

The Project has played a key role in supporting the visibility and operational readiness of the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM). The RRM is a network of CDEMA Participating States (PSs), national, regional and international disaster stakeholders through which external response and relief operations in support of an impacted CDEMA PS are coordinated.

This has seen the funding of numerous training sessions including the Regional Search and Rescue Training Programme and the staging of  Exercise SYNERGY each year to bring disaster management professionals together to test the operations of the RRM for continuous improvement of the system.

Support given to community recovery for the most vulnerable by providing rapid funding for small, local projects

The project launched the Caribbean Early Recovery Fund (CERF) to support the recovery needed after an impact. The fund focuses on livelihood restoration, removal of post-disaster threats and restoration of safe shelters. Local NGOs, government entities  as well as regional and international agencies in disaster management can apply for the fund through the National Disaster Office of the impacted state.

Improved knowledge management to support fact-based decision-making

The Caribbean Risk Information System (CRIS) has been important in the project's support of knowledge management. The 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. It 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.

Global Affairs Canada was a funding partner in the 2020 launch of the CRIS, and the project has since been instrumental in providing GeoCRIS training to Participating States, populating the Virtual Library with disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation resources as well as supporting consultancies for improving the CRIS

Strengthened technical capacity within the CDEMA Coordinating Unit to address gender equality and other issues

CDEMA’s first Gender Specialist was hired through the project, responsible for improved gender-sensitive approaches to CDM within the Participating States, supporting the strengthening of the agency’s programming and internal technical capacity to address gender equality considerations. CDEMA is aligned to the strategy of promoting progress towards SDG Goal 5 – “Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls” through integration of gender equality and human-rights based approaches into disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change (CC) adaptation and environmental management frameworks.

The Gender Specialist has played a role in a number of initiatives including convening the Gender Working Group of the CDM Sector Sub Committee and the inclusion of Essential Services Packages and Guidelines for Gender Based Violence in the Model National Shelter Management Policy for CDEMA Participating States.

Improved governance of CDM action in the region

The Targeted Support to CDEMA Project has provided support to the reconvening of the CDM Coordination and Harmonisation Council (CDM CHC) as well as Sector Subcommittees across thematic areas including  Agriculture, Civil Society and Health. This support allows multiple stakeholders to engage in important matters on disaster management and building resilience across vulnerable populations and sectors in the region.