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Disaster Preparedness in Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica
In recent years, floods, landslides, droughts and hurricanes have crippled agricultural production in the Caribbean, where agriculture is the main livelihood activity for a significant number of people. To strengthen community preparedness and resilience to natural disasters in the region, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched the a project titled “Disaster Preparedness Project for Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica” (OSRO/RLA/102/BEL) in October 2011.
The EUR 1 million project was funded by the Belgium Cooperation and implemented by FAO, in collaboration with national and local partners. A total of 16 communities participated in the project: six communities from the southern region of Dominican Republic, five from Jamaica and five from the south-east region of Haiti.
The project aimed at increasing the resilience of farming and fishing communities through the implementation of community Agricultural Disaster Risk Management (ADRM) plans, location-specific good practices and technology and knowledge sharing of good practices and experiences. The project was able to strengthen ADRM farming and fishing capacities, making the communities better prepared and more resilient to disasters.
The project’s main achievements included the establishment of a participatory methodology to prepare community-based ADRM plans and of community-level ADRM committees that actively participated in the preparation of the plans. Local partners and farmer organizations were trained on the ADRM process, including communication-based strategic planning and tools. The immediate priorities identified during the participatory assessment process were addressed through the community-based ADRM plans implemented in the pilot sites. Additionally, contingency stocks and supplies were provided in every single community, based on the needs identified. Good agricultural practices for disaster risk reduction were also identified in selected communities in three countries.
The project was supported through the design and implementation of communication strategies for community-based ADRM activities. Local Information and Communication plans were implemented to support participatory livelihoods assessments and awareness raising, community-based early warning systems for fisherfolks, documentation and sharing of ADRM practices, among others.
The project’s success at the local level could then contribute to a broader up-scaling and replication at the national and regional level. Based on lessons learned, the following recommendations were made in order to make ADRM interventions more sustainable:
- Scale-up the knowledge developed by the project and strengthen partnerships with governments, NGOs and farmer organizations.
- Capitalize the project experience in the three countries and at regional level (Caribbean) through further training and exposure.
- Document the ADRM methodology and disseminate it through a booklet and CDs produced in the three languages (English, Spanish and French).
- Validate good agricultural practices in risk reduction, particularly those identified in the Haitian-Dominican border.
- Integrate participatory communication activities since the beginning of ADRM planning and enhance local capacities in managing communication processes and tools.
At country level, further aspects should be considered:
- In Jamaica, an Action Plan with the Government and the national agricultural institution is needed to secure funding and continue the work initiated by the project.
- In Dominican Republic, ensure the endorsement of the project methodology by the ADRM National Department and its inclusion in national programmes.
- In Haiti, develop national ADRM capacities at central and local level.