Agronoticias: Agriculture News from Latin America and the Caribbean
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“Next time we will be prepared”

Resilience has become the key to facing extreme weather events in Latin America and the Caribbean. Haiti is preparing a project to ensure early warning systems and agricultural resistance to climate uncertainty.

A child stands in what is left of his house in Utuado, Puerto Rico, which was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Maria Oct. 12, 2017.

The Caribbean region has just experienced one of the worst hurricane seasons in recent memory. Not only has the devastation been significant in geographic terms, affecting the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and the United States, but also in financial terms. After Hurricane Irma, for example, the island of Dominica was forced to face the destruction of over 80% of its infrastructure, and after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico reported losses of 2 billion dollars, calculating that it would take 6 months to restore electricity throughout the island.

Situations like these remind us of the importance of resilience, which, in terms of human psychology, is defined as the capacity to adapt to traumatic situations in order to be better prepared to face them in the future. Within a climate context, resilience implies observing, learning, addressing, and resisting adverse weather events. Whether they are continuous droughts, as in the case of the Dry Corridor in Mesoamerica, or hurricanes, such as those affecting the Caribbean region year after year. Being more climate-resilient therefore involves having a better understanding of these phenomena, better tools to address them, and doing so ahead of time, minimizing the risk of catastrophe.

The Resilient Productive Landscapes (RPL) Project involves the efforts of various organizations, led by the World Bank and FAO, to build resilience in Haiti, one of the countries most affected by extreme weather events. Yerania Sánchez and Roble Sabrie, experts in the FAO Investment Centre, are part of the RPL preparation team. They visited the country in September to meet with other key actors in the project, including the Ministries of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR according to its acronym in French), and the Environment (MDE), as well as existing development projects. RPL is anticipated to be launched at the beginning of 2018.

Author: Jordi Vaqué, FAO Investment Center, Latin America and the Caribbean Division (TCIC)
Photo Credit: Jon-Paul Rios / U.S. Coast Guard (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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