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CDEMA Technical Advisory Committee endorses the Revised Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems Checklist

[Press Release] During the 9th Meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), members endorsed the Revised Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems Checklist.

The TAC participated in its annual meeting, which was held April 16-20 in St. Michael, Barbados.

Following the TAC’s endorsement, the Checklist will be presented to the Management Committee of Council, for onward recommendation to the CDEMA Council for endorsement as an important tool to be pursued by CDEMA Participating States.

The Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS) Checklist is a practical tool consisting of major components and actions that national governments, community organizations and partners within and across all sectors can refer when developing or evaluating early warning systems. Early warning is a major element of disaster risk reduction. It can prevent loss of life and reduces the economic and material impacts of hazardous events including disasters.

During her presentation, Alexcia Cooke, Regional Technical Coordinator, CDEMA, highlighted the development and adaptation process of the Checklist along with the benefits to be derived from its application. She indicated that the Checklist will be applied in 5 countries – Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines under the project ‘‘Strengthening integrated early warning systems for more effective disaster risk reduction in the Caribbean through knowledge and tool transfer’. All Participating States were encouraged to pursue its application in close collaboration with relevant public and private sector actions at the national and regional level.

The objective of people-centred multi-hazard early warning systems is to empower individuals and communities threatened by hazards to act in sufficient time and in an appropriate manner to reduce the possibility of personal injury and illness, loss of life and damage to property and the environment.

“During my tenure with CDEMA and even reflecting on previous interventions, we have not seen a tool that has been geared towards benchmarking or providing standards for Early Warning Systems (EWS) and observing the tool applied in such a way as to determine the progress made by countries against those standards”, said Ronald Jackson, Executive Director, CDEMA. “Throughout the Caribbean, there have been initiatives that have sought to develop EWS at all levels. Previous interventions are therefore useful building blocks towards effective EWS in the countries”, he added.

This current version of the checklist was adapted for use in the Caribbean in 2018. Key revisions to the Checklist include: 1) the integration of gender considerations across the four elements of the Checklist, 2) addition of major social groups and other stakeholders among the key actors; 3) general information on the population to be served by the MHEWS 4) levels against which to objectively identify attainment/progress for each action, and 5) minimal revisions to the language of the Checklist for improved clarity.

The revision was led by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Handicap International. This Project was funded through the DIPECHO Action Plan for the Caribbean (2017) by the General Directorate of Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid of the European Union (ECHO).

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