The Special Committee for Disaster Risk Reduction

The Special Committee for Disaster Risk Reduction meets once per year and involves co-operation between ACS Member States and among the different regional bodies, for the purpose of establishing a coordinated response to natural occurrences.

Also, its primary objective is the institutional strengthening of regional and national bodies in the areas of prevention and mitigation with respect to disasters.

The XXI Meeting of the Special Committee for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) was held in Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, on September 02nd, 2013. The Meeting was attended by 18 Member States, 1 Associate Member and 20 International Organizations.

Honduras, in its capacity as Chair of the ACS Special Committee for Disaster Risk Reduction, underscored the importance of strengthening cooperation in the area of disaster risk reduction as natural hazards pose a constant threat to the peoples of the Greater Caribbean.

Some key outcomes to note:  

·         Honduras, Chair of the SCDRR, ratified the Agreement for Regional Co-operation in the Area of Natural Disasters on June 21, 2013. Ratification from two (2) more Member States is thus needed for the agreement to enter into force.

·         The project ‘SHOCS II’ is currently in implementation phase, being carried out by the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the ACS. It is funded by a budget of €1,000,000 in order to ensure wider coverage and expansion of the project. Upcoming activities include Automated Weather Station (AWS) restoration and data distribution, introduction of the SmartMet technology, Climate Services, QMS training and EWS tools

·         Dr. Stephen Ramroop, Executive Director of the ODPM, reported that the project ‘Green Response’ is noteworthy as it considers the concept of green products in all cycles of the project. He further announced that the study assessing the feasibility of   implementing a ‘green response’ to disasters in Trinidad and Tobago is expected to be completed by April 2014. 

In addition, discussions were held on the progress made regarding implementation of the following projects:

·         ‘the rough season’

·         International (virtual) Diploma

·         HOPEFOR Initiative

·         Regional Masters Degree

The meetings of the Special Committee as well as those of the Technical Groups on Disaster Risk Reduction function are proof of the real value of the functional co-operation provided by the ACS.  It is thus important to invite regional and international delegations and institutions to share their countries’ experience in establishing and/or strengthening their respective national platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction.