Strengthening Cross-Sector Collaboration for Disaster Resilience

The Caribbean is experiencing an unprecedented increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme climate events.  In the past 20 years, the region has sustained more than 300 natural disasters – storms, earthquakes, floods, and droughts – causing significant financial and human losses. All actors are impacted, governments, the private sector, and communities, yet the challenges of collaboration and coordination between stakeholders across the ecosystems are limited and often reactive. 

The Caribbean Corporate Investment Initiative (CCIR) Coalition is a collaboration platform, designed by and for governments, businesses and communities across the Caribbean, to come together to identify, develop and scale innovative, sustainable solutions to systemic challenges around disaster resilience. Starting with systems sensing and co-design, GKI facilitated private sector and humanitarian actors across the Eastern Caribbean archipelago to collectively map the dynamics of the systems, clarify the future state envisioned and identified strategic opportunities for systems transformation.  

Now through the summer of 2023, with support from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, we will launch and build the coalition and its capacity to identify and source transformative solutions to shift the system, while fostering long-term, value-driven partnerships between the private sector and humanitarian actors to accelerate and scale them across the region.

GKI is actively seeking partners and collaborators. For more information, email the program team at ccir@gkinitiative.org.

​​The Caribbean is one of the most hazard-prone regions in the world. It is exposed to a wide range of natural hazards which have significant economic, social and human costs across the region. Since 2000, the Caribbean has been impacted by more than 300 natural disasters which have affected some 39 million people and caused over US$114 billion in total damage. The annual losses from catastrophic climate events alone are estimated at $3 billion.

Crisis are complex – having multiple economic and social impacts – and most recently, COVID-19 has created a new set of challenges. 

We mapped the challenges and opportunities for strengthening disaster resilience across the region – which showed us a number of deeply rooted competing priorities and systemic knowledge gaps:

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  1. Communication and coordination is weak, and there is no common understanding of resource availability and needs, so the distribution of resources is inefficient and causes blockages/challenges across supply chains. 
  2. During post-disasters, protocols and lack of trust hamper the movement of goods, people, and services which causes delays, blockages, and long-term supply chain “depressing” effects.
  3. The incentives/benefits of investing time and resources in disaster preparedness and planning is not apparent to all private sector actors, which leads to a mindset/culture that is too focused on response rather than planning.

Digging deeper into the challenge of crisis in the Caribbean, we collectively identified three central areas for strengthening disaster resilience efforts in the region:

  • Multi-sector coordination for crisis response: including crisis communication (before, during and after disasters), connectivity challenges and issues around awareness and education for disaster preparedness and response
  • Building resilience through broader use of business continuity planning: including supply chain resilience, care for employees (HR & finance considerations), and investment in and design of recovery plans for businesses (especially SMEs)
  • Supporting supply chains for products and services: including cross-industry and cross-island coordination and support for supply chain resilience.

How might we collectively respond in these opportunity areas? We heard of the need and desire for a range of solutions, of which two are being immediately actioned through CCIR.:

  • A Coalition for private and public sector actors to inform and facilitate their engagement during disaster planning and response (underway)
  • Supports the development of a resource tracker able to log and track both needs and resources while linking to and leveraging appropriate national bodies (underway)
  • Develop Common Protocols and SoPs in Advance of Disaster
  • Map hierarchy and sequencing of response
  • Run simulations and drills to practice & prepare
  • Develop joint recovery plans with both public and private sector
  • Clarify the incentive for operational preparedness through storytelling, information sharing and highlighting return on investment

The CCIR Coalition Purpose

The Coalition’s purpose is to mobilize collective action of diverse stakeholders and institutions by providing a platform for them to partner, innovate, and collaborate around complex, systemic challenges to disaster preparedness and response. 

The CCIR Coalition is being co-designed with regional stakeholders who share a collective vision of a more resilient Caribbean and is envisaged as a forum that will enable:

  • Sharing of information, knowledge and resources
  • Communication & coordination between public and private sector actors
  • Bringing the private sector into decision-making for disaster risk reduction activities at a national and regional level, and offering a space for a unified voice from the private sector
  • Creating an avenue for private sector resource contribution (all types including technical, financial, human and strategic)
  • Formalized public-private collaborations and partnerships for disaster resilience around solution concepts or initiatives that respond to identified system pain points
  • Reducing challenges and transaction costs of collaboration between public and private sector actors
  • Exploring  best practices of multi-stakeholder collaboration platforms in incentivizing private sector engagement for disaster resilience.

A group of CCIR Coalition stakeholders are taking part as core members in the co-design process for the first identified collaboration – a resource tracker. They are collectively working to determine the scope of the collaboration, including its sustainability, performance measures, regional engagement, coordination and communication.

Mission Statement 

To improve disaster resilience in the Caribbean through efficient resource coordination. 

Vision Statement

The tracker will enable the timely movement of disaster preparedness and response resources (goods, services, information, and people), onto and between islands, and will strengthen efficient, needs-based resource coordination among locally-anchored organizations in the Caribbean. Based on its performance during and after disasters, the tracker will be continually adjusted and improved. The tracker will be supported through a sustainable financial and management structure. 

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