The acceleration of global climate change and the increasing risk posed by a range of natural, environmental and technological hazards is one of the Caribbean's most critical development problems. As identified in the UNDP Strategic Plan 2008 - 2011, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is working to assist countries to prevent crisis and encourage recovery, making the integration of risk reduction into the human development framework an essential component. The Hyogo Framework for Action, approved in January 2005 as an outcome of the World Conference on Disaster Reduction, guides UNDP's collaboration in this area and is a decisive step forward in putting disaster risk reduction on the international agenda.
Following a preparatory process, the Caribbean Risk Management Initiative (CRMI) was launched in 2004 by the UNDP's Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) and the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (RBLAC) as a knowledge network designed to build capacity across the Caribbean region for the management of climate-related risk between the different linguistic communities. Responding to identified priorities in the UNDP Strategic Plan 2008 - 2011, CRMI works towards strengthening regional and national capacities to manage and mitigate the risks of disasters and aims to strengthen regional capacity to adapt to climate change. A regional initiative, CRMI is designed to facilitate the development of policies and mechanisms for improved management, recovery and development in Smalls Island Developing States in support of the Mauritius Strategy and the RBLAC Regional Program Document (RPD 2008-2011).
CRMI is led by a program management team based at UNDP country offices in Cuba and Barbados/OECS, with the participation of other UNDP field offices in the Caribbean in planning and implementing various activities. CRMI focuses on increasing capacity through south-south collaboration and the identification and exchange of existing technical capacities. Another key strategy of this program is the documentation and dissemination of best practices and lessons learned in different aspects related to disaster risk management and adaptation to climate change, as well as early recovery in small island developing states (SIDS). CRMI also aims to encourage dialogue and closer engagement between climate scientists and the more operational community of disaster managers. In this capacity, the CRMI focuses on the following objectives:
Objective 1: Increased capacity for climate risk management
Objective 2: Risk reduction and climate change adaptation integrated into development planning
Objective 3: Increased investments in climate risk management
The program's expected overall impacts are:
- Greater awareness among Caribbean actors in climate risk management of the diverse sources of expertise in their region.
- More systematic collaboration among institutions from various Caribbean countries on climate risk management activities.
- Identification of and dissemination of best practices in the Caribbean which can potentially be replicated or adapted.
The CRMI works in close partnership with key regional and national entities in this field, such as Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). It collaborates with UNDP's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), UNIFEM, UNDP's Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (RBLAC), and the UNDP project "America Latina Genera". CRMI maintains extensive linkages with national governments, disaster management offices, civil defense and meteorology offices in numerous Caribbean countries.
CRMI has been funded by various donors such as: the Italian Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea; Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the UNDP – Spanish Trust Fund; the UNDP's Gender Thematic Trust Fund (GTTF); and UNDP core funding from the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (RBLAC) and the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR).
About CRMI Phase II
Five years after its initiation, CRMI is now in the process of transitioning to a new phase. The second phase of CRMI will consolidate gains made and carry out activities in strategically important areas with the overall goal of developing capacity within the Caribbean for managing the risk due to climate-affected hazards. The strategy for CRMI phase II addresses many of the recommendations of the external evaluation undertaken in 2008, and seeks to build on the key successes of the first phase of the initiative. CRMI II will commence in 2010 and will be guided by the sub-regional RBLAC centre in Trinidad & Tobago.