High-level meeting shares lessons learned and charts the way forward
What can be done to ensure that vulnerable children and their families get the critical support they need to face emergencies?
This key question dominated a four-day meeting which brought together UNICEF country representatives from Belize, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Eastern Caribbean Area, Guyana and Suriname and Jamaica, as well as emergency specialists and representatives from both the UNICEF Latin America and Caribbean regional office and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA. UNICEF’s Deputy Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Anne-Claire Dufay and the United Nations Resident Coordinator for or Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean States Didier Trebucq.
Held in early June to coincide with the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season, the workshop explored how UNICEF offices and their partners can collaborate more strategically and efficiently to support those affected by climate-related hazards, such as hurricanes, which often strike more than one country at a time. There were also frank and fruitful discussions with CDEMA, the main regional partner.
Talking and sharing
According to Jennie Trow, Emergency Specialist for UNICEF’s Eastern Caribbean Area, the major achievement of the workshop was allowing regional colleagues to share lessons learned and strategize to ensure UNICEF’s response is fit for purpose and child-centered. “We need to make sure that we truly reach those in need, the most vulnerable households. We only get there by planning and working together, not only with UNICEF offices but with our key regional partners,” she said.
Critical areas of discussion included: working together under a common emergency preparedness and response strategy in the Caribbean, human resource capacity, supply and logistics, collaborating with implementing partners, resource mobilization and advocacy. Response and knowledge gaps, alongside overlapping areas of responsibilities were addressed. Offices shared relevant local scenarios and products developed to rapidly disseminate the right information at the right time and mobilize donor support.