Community Disaster Risk Management Plans take climate change considerations on board

I am rather late with this information, but this is important work being done island-wide by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in partnership with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). It coincides with the just-concluded UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). If you would like further information, you may contact Project Manager Lehome Johnson, email: Lehome_Johnson@PIOJ.gov.jm.

Community Disaster Risk Management Plans now feature climate change

The community of Mitchell Town in Clarendon was the first to validate its updated Community Disaster Risk Management (CDRM) Plan, which stands to make the coastal community more prepared to withstand the impacts of severe weather events.

There were two sessions last week in Kingston, for the communities of Bull Bay and Lawrence Tavern. This week, sessions will take place at St. Elizabeth Parish Council for the communities of New River and Accompong. Next week, there will be meetings at the Manchester Parish Council for New Market and Porus.

The CDRM plans – which outline a range of actions and strategies to be employed at the community level in preparation for, in response to and in recovery from a range of hazards – now feature climate change impacts as a disaster risk.

They also include hazard maps, community risk profiles, resilience and climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives that can be implemented by the communities themselves.

The communities updated their CDRM Plans with assistance from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and in partnership with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). Funding was provided under the PIOJ’s Improving Climate Data and Information Management Project (ICDIMP).

ICDIMP Project Manager Lehome Johnson explained the need for the update.

“The latest climate projections outlined in the State of the Jamaican Climate Report 2015 (published by PIOJ in 2017) include an increase in the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes, longer and more intense dry periods and higher temperatures all year round. Most of the existing plans were developed between 2010 and 2012; and therefore, would not have considered these climate projections and their impacts on the communities, nor did they include climate change adaptation strategies,” he said.

“It was necessary to include climate change considerations given the urgency of the climate crisis and the exposure and vulnerability of the communities to extreme weather events.  These, as you are aware, are particularly detrimental to vulnerable groups such as farmers, fisherfolk and many others who depend on our natural resources for their livelihoods,” Johnson added. “The PIOJ is therefore pleased to support the ODPEM which is moving to have communities better prepared to deal with all kinds of hazards, including climate hazards.”

The sessions include the presentation of certificates to members of the CDRM committees who were trained in areas such as first aid, shelter management, and climate change adaptation initiatives. The CDRM committees will also be provided with safety equipment including flashlights, safety vests, bull-horn public address systems, first-aid kits, and raincoats to assist in disaster preparedness and response activities.

“The validation sessions coincide with the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26), and further highlight Jamaica’s efforts to build resilience to climate change impacts, especially at the local level,” said Johnson.

The work undertaken by the ICDIMP is funded by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) under the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR).  The CIF is administered by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/ the World Bank.

The project aims to improve the quality and use of climate related data and information for effective planning and action at local and national levels and consists of four components:

  1. Upgrading hydro-meteorological data collection, processing and forecasting systems;
  2. Climate resilient planning and hydro-meteorological information;
  3. Climate change education and awareness towards behaviour change; and
  4. Project management, monitoring and evaluation.

The updating of the CDRM plans falls under component 2.

The new plans will include risk profiles and community level resilience mitigation as well as climate change adaptation initiatives that can be implemented by the communities themselves.

The validation workshop for Mitchell Town’s updated Community Disaster Risk Management Plan underway at the Clarendon Municipal Corporation offices on November 7.

2 thoughts on “Community Disaster Risk Management Plans take climate change considerations on board

  1. Sadly and most cynically, these CDRM initiatives are being implemented simultaneously with extreme, ongoing degradation of communities you’ve recently reported on, the Blue Lagoon area of San San (btw, has there been any pushback against that, similar to what happened with the Puerto Bueno mining project?), and Green Island. Is the mega hotel being constructed in Green Island the same or a different project from the one designated as ‘New Negril’ – or are they two different mega constructions? Hopefully NEPA, or other protective entities there will be able to step up and halt these constructions, or at least implement protections so that no further escalation of degradation can occur in these areas. I’m aware from visiting that already there are problems in San San with sewage runoff into the beaches whenever it rains heavily. And some of the less ‘main attraction’ beaches in San San are literally clogged with garbage – a friend and I spent a couple of hours one day fishing garbage out of the water of a beautiful beach, and placing it into piles on the sand in hopes someone would eventually dispose of it all. And around Negril, where I visit more often, clearly as climate change worsens, sewage and beach erosion will become worse problems if they haven’t already. In order to find fish that once were abundant near the coast, fishermen there are having to travel dangerously further and further out in their small wooden boats, and even then are not guaranteed success at finding fish. This is spurring reef fishing near the coast where it shouldn’t be occurring, but people need to put food on their table to survive. And there doesn’t seem to be any effort to implement protection of the reef nurseries. This government and its cronies need to open their eyes and realize one day their cup is going to run dry if they continue to poison their own wine. That’s certainly happening worldwide, we’re living an environmental, generational ponzi scheme of sorts, but Jamaica particularly depends on tourism as livelihood and the supposed jobs being created by these mega resorts pay so little people scarcely take home much more than their pay for their root taxis to and fro each day. Its a beautiful country with so many lovely people, its maddening watching the vacuum of decent leadership. Sorry to vent but I do hope the government is aware that along with, most importantly many Jamaicans, some tourists too are watching what is happening.

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