Caribbean Emergency Preparedness and Response Programme
From Clinton Foundation
Commitment by World Food Programme
In 2019, The World Food Programme (WFP) committed to creating an integrated capacity building programme to improve humanitarian response in the Caribbean. The programme will support local and regional governments in their effort to reach vulnerable populations and decrease the need for international interventions after a disaster. The 2017 humanitarian response highlighted the limitations of the region’s supply chain management. Through this commitment, WFP will work with the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to create a regional supply chain management system to track goods, funds, and services from the source to the beneficiaries. WFP will also consult with local governments to implement technological solutions that will improve the financing and execution of cash transfer programmes. Finally, WFP will develop a tool to analyze the impact of climate-related events on supply chains. WFP will conduct trainings to transfer the operation of these systems, solutions, and tools to local personnel.
The World Food Programme commits to creating an integrated regional capacity building programme aimed at transferring knowledge, assets, and experience in humanitarian response to key institutions in the Caribbean. The programme will support local and regional governments in helping the most vulnerable and decreasing the need for international interventions in response to future disasters.
This programme includes three key pillars. First, to minimize the effect of climate-related shocks to the regional supply chain and vulnerable populations in the Caribbean, WFP will create a regional supply chain management system that combines state-of-the-art software and hardware to track goods, funds, and services from the source to the beneficiaries at the regional, national, and community levels. This system will be managed by the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). WFP will fund two logistics personnel imbedded within CDEMA to support system development.
Second, WFP will develop a tool for the assessment and analysis of how climate-related events affect supply chains, particularly for food. This will allow CDEMA and other local partners to rapidly adjust emergency plans and preposition supplies. It will also feed into a regional symposium in April 2020 that will bring together stakeholders to develop a more coordinated regional emergency response.
The third pillar will focus on five target countries and CDEMA. WFP completed assessments of its social protection (cash transfer) programmes in data management, delivery, coordination, and financing of the social protection programme in Dominica, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Belize, and Guyana. In consultation with local governments in the five target countries, WFP will use these findings to implement solutions such as high-tech information management systems to improve the selection and targeting of beneficiaries, innovative options to deliver cash to beneficiaries, and strategies for alternative financing. WFP will also work with CDEMA’s regional response mechanism to build its capacity to provide food and/or cash distributions during an emergency response.
WFP will conduct regular trainings and drills to transfer the operation of these systems, solutions, and tools to local personnel.
Regional Supply Chain Management System:
July 2019: 2 Logistical staff hired in CDEMA; regional training on social protection programmes in emergencies
December 2019: Complete needs assessment of participating states
July 2019 – December 2021: continue assessments with supply chain actors such as food suppliers and couriers
July 2020: Refresher training/simulation on end to end supply chain management in CDEMA sub-regional hubs; Roll out of initial training to focus countries on regional supply chain management system
December 2021: Complete procurement of software and hardware and complete integration of the system
December 2021: Full training programme for regional supply chain management system developed, rolled out to all end users and handed over to CDEMA
Supply Chain Tool for Assessment and Analysis:
December 2019: Draft of tool to assessment and analysis of how climate-related events affect supply chains
April 2020: Complete assessment tool
April 2020: Logistics in Emergencies forum designed to strengthen logistics preparedness and response by linking humanitarian actors, public sector partners and private sector services to build a common understanding of logistics constraints during times of crisis with solutions form all actors
December 2021: Complete roll out of system and training of local personnel on assessment tool
Social Protection Programmes Solutions:
July 2019: Present assessment of initial 5 Countries
December 2019: Implement course for surge teams on social protection programmes (cash transfers) in emergencies
March 2020: Roadmaps completed based on country assessments, with identified support from WFP to enhance system preparedness agreed upon, including data management, targeting, delivery mechanisms, coordination and financing mechanisms
December 2021: Complete implementation of solutions identified through assessment
December 2020: Ongoing training at the national level around specific social protection intervention
July 2021: Ongoing training at the national level around specific social protection intervention
The 2017 humanitarian response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria provided valuable insights into the strengths and limitations of the Caribbean to respond to a high-impact or multiple impact event. There were key gaps in the region’s logistical and supply chain management capacities, which limited the ability to respond quickly and effectively to the needs of the most vulnerable following a disaster. The response and assessments thereafter have identified several specific vulnerabilities and opportunities for improvement.
One significant challenge is the lack of a regional system to digitally manage inventory and track relief items throughout the supply chain. This resulted in redundancy of relief items, congestion in ports, and delays in getting essential goods and services to those in need in a trackable and targeted way. As an interconnected region, there is also a need to consolidate available data on how multiple impact hazards – like hurricanes Maria and Irma – can impact the regional supply chain and neighboring communities.
Furthermore, lessons from cash-based transfers in Dominica, coupled with recent assessments on national social protection systems, revealed that investments are needed prior to a disaster to strengthen one or more elements related to data management, targeting, delivery mechanisms, coordination, and financing. For example, information management systems to accommodate food and cash transfers to persons are, in some cases, solely paper-based and manual in nature, which results in delays, inefficiencies, and high costs when using existing systems after an event. In some countries social programmes have low coverage or delivery systems lack the flexibility to respond in the event of an emergency. High indebtedness and limited fiscal space mean that countries often do not have resources allocated to meet citizens’ immediate needs. There is therefore a need to work with countries to explore financing options that put people at the center of disaster response.
WFP is seeking $3.7 million of funding to close their funding gap to develop and implement products under the programme. WFP has more recently re-engaged with the region. Through the CGI platform, WFP hopes to engage with other organizations working in the Caribbean, particularly other governments and the private sector, to promote the intervention as well as the outcome of the work. With prepositioned logistical assets in all of CDEMA’s four sub-regional focal points (Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago), WFP also hopes to partner to establish climate resistant warehousing at such facilities. These assets increase CDEMA’s ability to respond quickly to emergencies in its four sub-regional focal point countries. WFP brings its technical expertise and proven success in logistics and supply chain management, development of information management systems, and strengthening of social protection programmes across the world. The partnership with CDEMA and the states covered by the programme seeks to transfer relevant skills, knowledge, and assets to increase the region’s threshold to respond to disasters and other emergencies.