January 27, 2022

The UWI and CDEMA renew commitment to chart resilient pathways

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The UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and CDEMA Executive Director Ms. Elizabeth Riley signed the updated MoU between the two organisations.

The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. Thursday, December 16, 2021—The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on December 9, 2021, to renew a joint commitment to driving resilience in the Caribbean. The MoU supports the recently launched Caribbean Resilient Recovery Facility, the Regional Response Mechanism, capacity building and knowledge management to advance the region’s resilience agenda.

During the signing ceremony hosted virtually via UWItv, Executive Director of CDEMA, Ms. Elizabeth Riley stated, “As institutions, CDEMA and The UWI share a regional remit and a global outlook. Our institutions share a vision as agents of transformational developmental change, driving the cultural shift to safety and resilience to diverse hazards through research, policy and practice.” Riley highlighted the Global Institute for Climate-Smart and Resilient Development launched by The UWI in October 2021 as evidence of the advanced partnership between the organisations. 

Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles shared the University’s history of global leadership and advocacy for climate change and saw the combination of academic research and technical expertise as beneficial to disaster risk management in the region. He explained, “This relationship between CDEMA and The UWI is therefore one of alignment. It is how you bring the best quality research to bear upon solutions for disasters in this region that have been galloping at a phenomenal rate in recent decades.”

The MoU will provide a framework for the operationalization of five interrelated pillars of the Caribbean Pathway for Resilience: Social Protection for the Marginal and Most Vulnerable; Safeguarding Infrastructure; Enhancing Economic Opportunity; Environmental Protection; and Operational Readiness and Recovery. 

According to Dr. Evangeline Inniss-Springer, Director of The UWI’s Disaster Risk Reduction Centre (DRRC) and technical lead on The UWI-CDEMA partnership, “This agreement highlights the importance of being consistent and the value of monitoring and evaluating how that consistency is operationalized.” She explained further, “The UWI and CDEMA now have an enhanced partnership approach that supports the implementation, monitoring and reporting on the Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy by strengthening the integration of science into practice, demystifying how disaster risk management and climate science is perceived, developing capacities at all levels.  Ultimately the partnership seeks to build resilience and contributes to the sustainable development of the Caribbean region.” 

Implementation of the MoU will be guided by biennial work programmes, the first of which is currently in development. Among the anticipated activities include The UWI serving as the Strategic and Technical Lead for the Education Sector Sub-committee of the CDM Harmonisation Council; partnering on the delivery of the Caribbean Safe Schools Initiative; collaborating with CDEMA in their young professionals programme; and co-hosting Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Training.

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