Wednesday 20 November, 2019

UWI advances work towards a more resilient Caribbean

Vice Chancellor of UWI, Sir Hilary Beckles (2nd left), presented an update on the capabilities and valuable research at the Universities Caribbean at recent DBJ-hosted private equity and innovation conference.

Vice Chancellor of UWI, Sir Hilary Beckles (2nd left), presented an update on the capabilities and valuable research at the Universities Caribbean at recent DBJ-hosted private equity and innovation conference.

Climate-change experts at The University of the West Indies (UWI) recently joined more than 500 delegates from major development partners and donor agencies in Barbados, to discuss priorities and solutions needed to tackle the Caribbean’s climate and disaster risks.

The three-day Understanding Risk (UR) Caribbean conference, held last month was organised by the European Union, World Bank and Global Fund for Disaster Risk Reduction in partnership with the Government of Barbados and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

UR Caribbean has created spaces for The UWI to follow up and collaborate within the framework of the CARICOM pathway to resilient development.

The UWI and CDEMA have agreed to join efforts in advancing a methodology and product that allows for more objective measurement of social vulnerability.

The university also used the UR Caribbean to pilot its Campus Contingency and Continuity of Operations course and conducted an exploration dialogue with regional organisations, World Bank on the rollout of a regional programme to address the issues of building safety and land use.

Contextualising The UWI’s involvement, Jeremy Collymore noted, “Through its work in the Seismic Research Centre, Geology and Geography Department, CERMES and the Departments of Physics, the University has a long and globally recognised record of contributing science to the understanding risks in the Caribbean. The panel discussion highlighted ongoing research at The UWI that is providing new tools which are beginning to influence policy on coastal and community resilience planning.”

The UWI hosted a panel discussion titled, “Towards Resilient States: Tools and Good Practices”.

Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Director for the Caribbean underscored, “Understanding a problem is the first step to solving it.” She added that the conference was “an opportunity to renew the Bank’s commitment to work together with other institutions across the Caribbean to invest in preparedness and build resilience.”

Three regional programmes to support planning for long-term resilience and climate-smart growth strategies for Caribbean countries were also launched during the week-long conference.

These included, the Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility and the Technical Assistance Programme for Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance in Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories financed by the European Union at US$31 million and US$3.4 million respectively, as well as the Canada Caribbean Resilience Facility financed by the Government of Canada US$15.2 million.

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