The Importance of Exercise Synergy to the Regional Response Mechanism

The Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) is an integral part of the CDEMA System. It 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.

Given the Caribbean region’s vulnerability to multiple hazards and to ensure all RRM partners remain attuned to their roles within the system, CDEMA launched its flagship Exercise SYNERGY. The Targeted Support to CDEMA Project has funded SYNERGY for the past three years, under outcome  area “Strengthened operational readiness to respond to natural disasters at the regional, sectoral, national and local levels.”


 Exercise Synergy 2019



 Programme Officer Preparedness and Response at CDEMA, Rasheed Pinder


Programme Officer Preparedness and Response at CDEMA, Rasheed Pinder, gives insight to the value of Exercise SYNERGY to the RRM

What is Exercise Synergy?

SYNERGY is the CDEMA CU  flagship Regional Exercise designed to test the joint coordination of emergency response operations among the partners of the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) in response to a disaster event in any CDEMA Participating State (PS).


When was the first Exercise Synergy executed, and how has it changed over the years?

The first version of Exercise Synergy was conducted in May 2019. This was done via a face to face medium. Between 2019 to present, Synergy saw a shift from a face to face exercise to a virtual modality mainly due to the COVID 19 pandemic.


What is the significance of Exercise Synergy to the RRM?

SYNERGY provides a forum for orienting the RRM partners to their respective roles in accordance with their disaster mandates and the Regional Coordination Plan (RCP). This exercise also provides a platform to build preparedness for the Atlantic hurricane season and other hazard threats in the year it is conducted


The hazard landscape across the region is constantly changing, how is Synergy adapted to provide the most value to actors within the RRM?

As the hazard “landscape” changes, so does the Synergy Exercise. The exercise tailors a scope of the realities of the region at the time. For example, during the height of the COVID 19 pandemic, the exercise took a focus (with the scenario and injects) of a widespread pandemic and epidemic of COVID 19 couples with the impacts of a natural hazard. 


What are some major achievements from Synergy?

SYNERGY 2022 Outcomes

  1. Re-orientation of the regional partners to the RRM
  2. A common understanding of the complexities of disaster response within a multi-island impact hazard environment
  3. Recognition of the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) as the preferred platform for joint coordination of disasters within CARICOM States;
  4. Clarity on the roles of the national, sub-regional, regional, and international systems within the RRM
  5. A deeper commitment to the continued enhancement of the RRM.


What will the upcoming Synergy offer RRM partners?

This year’s exercise will take the focus on a multi – hazard, multi – island impact across the CDEMA PSs, prompting a level 2 followed by a level 3 RRM Response. This will offer the RRM stakeholders a unique opportunity to realistically discuss their operational response to such an impact (scenario) within the region. It will enable all in attendance with the knowledge of the assets and resources available to the region within the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane season (and beyond). The exercise will also build stronger  rapport amongst the RRM stakeholders.