EWS team during site visits in Dominica. Photo: Zaimis Olmos / UNDP

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the International Federation for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are launching today the re-designed Early Warning Systems Toolkit which presents a compilation of guidance and operational documents in an online platform acting as an information resource for sector practitioners, policy and decision-makers’ access to information for developing and/or strengthening early warning systems (hydro-meteorological and coastal hazards) within the Caribbean context.  

This tool provides an overview of successful practices from the field relating to establishing Early Warning Systems (EWS) and presents guiding principles that will build a strong foundation for the design or strengthening of EWS at any level.  Further, it creates a level of systemization within the region and provides guidelines, sample tools and reference documents for organisations and countries to source information relating to the development of EWS.

Presently the toolkit comprises information within five sections one of which is a case study section and the remaining for being consistent with the four key components identified for the development and sustainability of a successful people centered EWS.

The toolkit is based on information gleaned from project partners involved in the DIPECHO Action Plan over the years as well as existing resources on EWS.  The toolkit is dynamic and will be updated periodically building on experience and knowledge generated through various activities at the country, regional and international level.  The toolkit is not meant to be an operation guide but a strategic tool that guides decision makers relating to development of an EWS.

It has been developed through the DIPECHO Action Plan for the Caribbean, implemented by the UNDP, CDEMA, IFRC and funded by the General Directorate of Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid of the European Union (ECHO). This project, which takes place in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Cuba over an 18-month period, seeks to strengthen disaster preparedness and risk reduction through Integrated Early Warning Systems (EWS). Working in this important element for disaster risk reduction, is expected to enhance the prevention, mitigation and response capacities at both the institutional and community level, based on mutual learning and collaboration between countries and regional institutions working in disaster risk reduction across the Caribbean. 

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