The agriculture sector in Guyana and Dominica has been increasingly affected by climate change and recurring disasters such as hurricanes, floods and droughts. Dominica was amongst the hardest hit countries by the devastating hurricanes in 2017. Guyana has seen floods and droughts particularly in hinterland regions that have disrupted livelihoods of many families. Disaster risk reduction is ever more critical in building resilience of rural communities and the active role of women in agriculture points to the need to strengthen capacities and systems to empower women in disaster management.
The “Project to Strengthen Disaster Management Capacity of Women in Guyana and Dominica” brings together the Governments of Japan, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, the Commonwealth of Dominica and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to address this dire need in the two countries. The project aims to reduce vulnerabilities and risks in the agriculture sector by targeting three broad drivers of these problems: gaps in gender analysis, hazard and risk data; limited integration of climate change and disaster risk planning and practices in the agriculture sector; and limited access to appropriate, sustainable finance for vulnerable small farmers and women’s groups.
Focus will be placed on pertinent areas such as strengthening community and women’s capacities in applying mitigation and adaptation measures to reduce livelihood vulnerability, strengthening accessibility and availability of preparedness measures (community-based and national Early Warning System), enhancing opportunities for micro-grant mechanisms, and enhancing the adoption of best practices through knowledge exchange between communities and women’s groups. There will also be exchange of experiences and knowledge between Dominica and Guyana on successful approaches and lessons learned, in particular, inter-country women’s exchange visits.
Two documents were signed at today’s ceremony at the Ministry of Finance in Georgetown. The Exchange of Notes (E/N) between the Government of Japan and UNDP formalizes the grant contribution amounting to five million US Dollars (US $5,000,000) from the Japanese Government, and was signed by Mr. Yoshinori Yakabe, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan, and Ms. Mikiko Tanaka, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative accredited to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The project document was signed by the Honourable Minister of Finance Winston Jordan and the UNDP Resident Representative. The USD 5M project is funded by the Government of Japan and will be implemented over a 3-year period starting in April 2018. In Guyana, the Civil Defense Commission and Ministry of Agriculture (Hydromet) are among several institutional partners delivering activities supporting coastland and hinterland communities susceptible to natural disasters.
Hon. Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan in his remarks at the event noted that the project will afford the people of Guyana the opportunity to share experiences and best practices, create synergies with the people of Dominica, develop and build resilience among citizens and create an enabling environment for sustainable agricultural development. He explained that the project will complement ongoing initiatives at the national level and expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan and UNDP for their respective support.
Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Japan, Yoshinori Yakabe remarked that the Government of Japan welcomes further opportunities which support the Caribbean region in addressing climate change, in order to establish a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate.
Mr. Yakabe further explained that the project will specifically focus on addressing vulnerabilities of women and indigenous people who experience disproportionate impacts of hazard events; it will positively enhance the ability of the two nations to address climate risk due to an improved understanding of the important role these groups can play in disaster preparedness and recovery.
UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Guyana, Mikiko Tanaka expressed UNDP’s appreciation to Japan in enabling this timely project. She added that UNDP in Guyana and Dominica (covered by the UNDP Office in Barbados) will build on ongoing regional initiatives in the Caribbean and work with national institutions and other UN agencies such as FAO and UNICEF to build resilience and empower women in disaster-prone communities as a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. Stephen O’Malley, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative for Barbados and the OECS in his remarks via skype said, the project offers an excellent opportunity for both Guyana and Dominica to benefit and share lessons learnt on different development challenges.
Photos of the signing ceremony can be accessed here.