UN dis­as­ter man­age­ment project tar­get­ing women and Ka­ma­rang

Stabroek News Sunday - - STABROEK NEWS -

Sev­eral UN agen­cies are col­lab­o­rat­ing on a project to bol­ster dis­as­ter man­age­ment ca­pac­ity in Guyana and Do­minica with spe­cific fo­cus on women and Ka­ma­rang in Re­gion Seven has been se­lected.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­lease on Reliefweb, the United Na­tions In­sti­tute for Train­ing and Re­search (UNITAR) and its Op­er­a­tional Satel­lite Ap­pli­ca­tions Pro­gramme (UNOSAT) are cur­rently work­ing with the UNDP and na­tional stake­hold­ers on a three-year project.

In Septem­ber 2018, the re­lease said that UNITARUNOSAT took the first con­crete step to­ward im­ple­ment­ing an Early Warn­ing Sys­tem (EWS) for floods in Guyana by un­der­tak­ing a scop­ing mis­sion to meet project part­ners and key stake­hold­ers from na­tional min­istries.

The re­lease said that the mis­sion team com­posed of UNOSAT and im­ple­ment­ing part­ner CIMA staff met with the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the Civil De­fence Com­mis­sion, the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary of the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, the Di­rec­tor Chief of Hy­dromet (un­der the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture), the Se­nior Gen­der Af­fairs Of­fi­cer of the Min­istry of So­cial Pro­tec­tion and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from other UN agen­cies.

In ad­di­tion, a multi-stake­holder work­shop took place to con­sult var­i­ous tech­ni­cal of­fi­cials and rel­e­vant key

stake­hold­ers. The meet­ings pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity to as­sess the needs and chal­lenges re­lat­ing to Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion (DRR) and EWS ac­tiv­i­ties. Tech­ni­cal gaps and avail­able ca­pac­ity within the coun­try were also an­a­lysed with a view to de­vel­op­ing a na­tional flood fore­cast­ing chain and tar­get­ing ap­pro­pri­ate agen­cies to en­sure a sus­tain­able han­dover af­ter the 3-year project. In this con­text, the re­lease said that ca­pac­ity de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties will be de­liv­ered to achieve ex­pected out­comes and aid the key na­tional stake­hold­ers in Guyana with main­tain­ing and run­ning the model to pro­vide early warn­ings for ar­eas at risk of flood­ing.

In an ef­fort to po­ten­tially pilot the EWS, the re­lease said that the UNDP se­lected an area that is highly ex­posed to flood­ing: Ka­ma­rang in the Cuyuni/Mazaruni. A field visit there al­lowed the teams to ex­am­ine weather sta­tions, par­tic­i­pate in a dis­as­ter risk man­age­ment work­shop with com­mu­nity chiefs and a gen­der fo­cused par­tic­i­pa­tory work­shop with the com­mu­nity to dis­cuss the Early Warn­ing Sys­tem.

The re­lease said that the gen­der com­po­nent of the over­all project is note­wor­thy: “women and in­dige­nous groups vul­ner­a­ble to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters are the pri­or­ity ben­e­fi­ciary groups we are try­ing to reach. In­deed, un­for­tu­nately women in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor in Guyana are dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fected by the loss of as­sets and crops af­ter a dis­as­ter be­cause they are of­ten in­volved in smaller scale, more re­mote ac­tiv­i­ties de­spite hav­ing in­creased re­pro­duc­tive and com­mu­nity re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. A so­cial norm also con­sid­ers men as pro­duc­ers with con­trol over as­sets and busi­nesses whereas women process, mar­ket and ben­e­fit from goods. The project aims not only to re­duce women’s vul­ner­a­bil­ity to dis­as­ters; the gen­der anal­y­sis will also in­form poli­cies that seek to re­duce un­equal roles be­tween men and women within the agri­cul­tural sec­tor and be­yond”.

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