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Friday, February 28, 2020

On the 10th year Anniversary of Chile's and Haiti's Earthquakes

During the first semester of 2010 Latin America and the Caribbean had two of the most devastating earthquakes of the decade. The first one in Haiti and the second one in Chile. It's been 10 years since both events and this is what we now know:

UN committed to helping Haiti build better future, says Guterres, marking 10-year anniversary of devastating earthquakeOn 12 January 2010, a 7.0 magnitude quake struck Haiti, devastating its capital, Port-au-Prince. About 220,000 people were reportedly killed, among them, 102 UN staff who lost their lives when the building housing the stabilization mission there, known as MINUSTAH, collapsed. Some 300,000 people were injured and 1.5 million become homeless during the 35-second-long tremor.
Haiti earthquake of 2010
2010 Haiti earthquake (Pallardy, 2020).

Marking the 10-year anniversary of the tragedy, Secretary-General António Guterres renewed the commitment of the United Nations to helping the country and its people build a better future.

“On this day, we remember the hundreds of thousands of Haitians who lost their lives and the millions gravely affected by the devastating earthquake that struck their country ten years ago,” Mr. Guterres said in a video statement, also honouring the memory of the UN colleagues lost on that same day..Read more

Haiti remembers victims of 2010 quake as economists lament rebuilding efforts 'at square one'."It's a lost decade, totally lost," Haitian economist Kesner Pharel told AFP. "The capital has not been rebuilt, but our poor governance is not the exclusive responsibility of the local authorities; at the international level we have not seen a mechanism for managing aid that would allow the country to benefit."
The billions of dollars promised by international donors in the weeks after the catastrophe seem to have vanished with little to show for them, fueling the bitterness of survivors who live today exposed to the same dangers as existed before the quake... Read more

Rafferty, 2020).
Chile earthquake of 2010. Severe earthquake that occurred on February 27, 2010, off the coast of south-central Chile, causing widespread damage on land and initiating a tsunami that devastated some coastal areas of the country. Together, the earthquake and tsunami were responsible for more than 500 deaths.

The magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck at 3:34 AM. The epicentre was located some 200 miles (325 km) southwest of the Chilean capital of Santiago, and the focus occurred at a depth of about 22 miles (35 km) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

By June more than 50,000 provisional homes had been erected, and housing subsidies had been disbursed to many who had been left without shelter. A year later some who were displaced had not yet moved to permanent accommodations, and coastal areas affected by the tsunami still struggled to recover from damage to the fishing and tourism industries. However, infrastructural repairs, including those to highways and airports, were largely complete. In July 2013 the government reported that some 74 percent of the 222,000 home-rebuilding projects it had subsidized were complete. The rest of the projects were largely complete by the middle of 2014... Read more

Interesting lessons and explanations 

Lessons Learned from Chile, Evaluating Strategic Reconstruction Master Plans in Post-Disaster Scenarios, Maria Garces Marques. By March 10th, a week after the earthquake, the newly elected president, Sebastian Piñera took office. He represented the center-right parties in Chile; he “symbolized the inauguration of a businessman government” (Boano and Cociña 2013) that ran on a campaign of business-friendly regulation, sound economic policy and overall economic growth government. Reconstructing the country was his main task from the very beginning of his term; this meant coming up with a plan that would address emergency needs as well as long-term recovery given the level of damage and the vast area covered by destruction.

The government’s action plan focused in channeling private entities and civil organization’s aid (mainly economic) through public-private partnerships led by the local governments (...) There were three types of plans designed to address specific areas of the country through a series of project portfolios and proposed financing structure:

Chile earthquake; Concepción
Rescue workers, Chile 2010.

a) Strategic Reconstruction Plan (PRES) designed and financed by the private sector. There were 27 PRES in total. The central government took a side seat and transferred leadership to the private sector who offered their support and expertise. Pelluhue was one of the localities that developed a PRES.

b) Reconstruction Plan for Coastal Areas (PRBC), VIII Region, developed by the Regional Government together with local universities. 25 PRBC were designed through regional leadership and without intervention from the central government (during the first stages).

c) Urban Regeneration Plans (PRU), in which the design and implementation was financed by each regional MINVU. These targeted small and medium sized localities and developed a series of detonating projects. 112 localities had a PRU’s... Read more

Haiti 10 Years After The Earthquake: Why So Little Recovery Progress In A Decade? “The earthquake gave Haiti an opportunity to take off, to learn development,” he says. “Unfortunately, nothing [has] happened. No planning. No leadership. No project.”
It’s hard to argue with him. It took a year after the quake just to get real debris removal started. It took seven years to reopen Haiti’s major hospital. Today, Haiti is facing one of the worst food shortages in the Americas. That’s not to mention the country’s endless political upheaval — and protesters now demanding the ouster of President Jovenel Moïse, who is accused of involvement in a $2 billion corruption scandal involving infrastructure project funds (which he denies).

So why, after a decade, has Haiti made so little recovery progress? Many Haitians say one big reason is that the country’s spirit itself has yet to recover.
“When you need to be psychologically healed first, then it’s hard for you to think about development,” says Marie Guerda Nicolas, a Haitian American and a psychology professor at the University of Miami. Nicolas was in Haiti during the earthquake, and she says it’s hard to exaggerate how brutally traumatic it truly was.

Deepened despair: For one thing, modern Haiti had never dealt with earthquakes: This was the first there since the 1700s. That’s a big reason so much caved in: Haiti’s building codes were some of the world’s most lax.
But the quake dealt another gut punch to Haiti's psyche: At that time, before the earthquake, Haiti was finally looking up after decades of dictatorship and dysfunction. “We had more stability in terms of the political situation,” Nicolas says. “Economically, there was more exporting; infrastructure being built. We were moving in the right direction.” To then have that optimism so suddenly and violently shattered only deepened Haitians’ despair... Read more

Policy Developments and Outlook on resilience to earthqueakes

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, February 12, 2019. Haiti is at a decisive moment in its strategic commitment to disaster reduction. The country is preparing to adopt a revised national risk and disaster management plan (PNGRD), about 20 years after the first plan was adopted. In addition, a law is under discussion to strengthen the capacities and autonomy of the Directorate of Civil Protection (DPC). At the same time, Haiti seeks to engage in several initiatives at regional and global levels and intends to participate in the main international events in disaster prevention where it will have to highlight the progress made while continuing to draw attention to the vulnerabilities existing. Recognizing this critical step, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction is increasing its support to the government and other actors involved in risk reduction and building resilience at the country level... Read more

UNDRR head, Mami Mizutori, and UNDP Crisis Bureau chief, Asaka Okai, sign Statement of Intent today in New York
UNDP and UNDRR to step up action on climate and disaster risk. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) signed a joint partnership agreement this Friday, 21 February, to step up collaboration on three priority areas to accelerate the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the UN Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

The partnership creates new opportunities to integrate DRR in important planning and decision-making processes at the country level, introduced by the UN Development System reform, and provides countries and partners with more clarity on each entity’s mandate work scope and complementarity.

“On average, investing in more resilient infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries brings $4 in benefit for every $1 invested,” said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “This closer partnership between UNDP and UNDRR will allow us to provide even better support to countries as they build stronger resilience against disasters and ramp-up their efforts to tackle climate risks.”... Read more

VII Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean
Jamaica will host the seventh session of the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean
, whose theme will be "Establishing resilient economies in the Americas and the Caribbean." This session will seek to increase the level of awareness of the increasing economic and human costs caused by disasters in the Americas and the Caribbean, including the challenges faced by small Island Developing States. During the sixth session of the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, held from June 20 to 22, 2018 in Cartagena, Colombia, the decision was made to hold the next forum in Jamaica. This will be the first time that a session of the Regional Platform in the Caribbean takes place, one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to extreme weather events and seismic activities... Read more

Friday, February 21, 2020

Special Edition: ECPA Ministerial Meeting 2020

Fourth ECPA Ministerial
Montego Bay

The Fourth Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) Ministerial Meeting will be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, February 27 and 28, 2020.

The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET), in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT), is leading the effort for the hosting of this High-Level meeting, which is expected to see Energy Ministers from the thirty three (33) other member countries of ECPA and other regional dignitaries being present in Montego Bay for the two day event.

The Ministerial will be held under the theme “Energy Resilience and Investment Opportunities”. This Ministerial will foster public-private policy dialogue between business and government leaders in the Americas on priorities, challenges, and opportunities for economic growth and development. Discussions will be centred on issues relating to financial mechanisms for clean and renewable energy, investment opportunities in energy efficiency, electric mobility as well as strategies to increase private sector engagement in energy infrastructure development... Read more

Energy Resilience and Investment Opportunities

The Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) will focus on “Energy Resilience and Investment Opportunities”—an apt theme at a time when countries around the region are striving to become more energy-secure and meet ambitious goals on renewables.
Take the host country, for example. Jamaica used to have an official target of producing 30% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030, but as Prime Minister Andrew Holness put it, “I believe we can do better.” In late 2018, he announced a new target of 50%.

During the meeting other side events will take place. The OAS is organizing two of these events—one on joint efforts by the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic to develop a set of common energy efficiency standards for electric lighting products, and the other on the challenges of hardening infrastructure against natural disasters to ensure that critical systems can get back up and running as soon as possible... Read more

For more information on ECPA check 'A Decade-plus of Cooperation' and follow the IV Ministerial Meeting on twitter with the #ECPAJA2020 - Twitter @ecpamericas

Interesting Facts and Policy Developments on Resilient Energy Infrastructure

Resilient Energy Platform. The Resilient Energy Platform helps countries understand and plan for natural, technological, and human-caused power system threats. The provision of reliable, secure, and affordable electricity is essential to power economic growth and development. Power systems are at risk from an array of natural, human-caused, and technological threats, which can cause everything from power interruption to chronic undersupply of energy. That’s why it is critical for policymakers, planners, and system operators to safeguard their power systems from these threats by proactively planning for future needs and investing in resilient power systems.

To help countries plan for power sector resilience, the USAID-NREL Partnership developed the Resilient Energy Platform, which provides an expertly curated collection of training materials, tools, data, case studies and other publications to support decision makers in assessing power sector vulnerabilities, identifying resilience solutions, and making informed decisions to enhance power sector resilience at all scales... Read more

Urban Resilience: Strengthening Survival Skills. Natural disasters can hit anywhere—not just in cities—but the human impact can be especially severe in high-population areas. That has serious implications for Latin America and the Caribbean, where an estimated 80% of people live in urban areas.

The Ministerial Dialogue on Urban Resilience, held on November 5, covered a range of issues, from technical to social, that come into play with disasters. Three of the speakers were from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which studies disaster resilience from various angles. Experts from Chile, Colombia, and Saint Lucia also participated. (A video of the event, along with each panelist’s presentation, can be found here.)

One central message: It’s more economical and effective to prevent than to rebuild. Panelist María Benítez, Deputy Director for Risk Reduction at Colombia’s National Unit for Disaster Risk Management, put it this way: “The best time to save a life is before a disaster happens.”... Read more

ECPA's Past InitiativesEnergy Infrastructure: Foster modernized, integrated, and more resilient energy infrastructure through disaster risk management, among other strategies..Read more

Friday, February 14, 2020

Special Edition on the Week of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Special Edition on the Week of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Yet women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science... Read more

Women in ScienceAccording to UIS data, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women. UIS data also show the extent to which these women work in the public, private or academic sectors, as well as their fields of research. But to truly reduce the gender gap, we must go beyond the hard numbers and identify the qualitative factors that deter women from pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)... Read more

Women and Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster risk reduction - UN WOMEN. Disaster risk reduction (DRR) involves reducing disaster risks through efforts to analyse and reduce their causes. Gender-responsive disaster risk reduction refers to analysing and taking into account the needs, opportunities, roles and relationships of women, men, boys and girls formed by gender norms within a given culture and society. It requires specific attention to women’s rights and gender equality as part of a proactive and people-centered approach to reducing risks and vulnerabilities.

UN Women – United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of WomenDisasters affect women, men, boys and girls in different ways. Gender inequalities increase women’s and girls’ vulnerability because they limit women’s and girl’s access to information and resources. This makes it more difficult for them to be resilient and recover from disasters... Read more 

Lives saved in Viet Nam by involving women in disaster planning. For millions of people in rural Viet Nam, the impacts of climate change are mounting and sometimes deadly. As weather patterns change, many of Viet Nam’s women in particular are paying a high price.

Huong Duong is a “communicator” on disaster risk reduction in My Thuy commune. Photo: UN Women Viet Nam/Hoang Hiep However, things are starting to change. “Thanks to good preparation and detailed mapping that we developed in the meetings before each storm, nobody in the village was killed or injured severely in the last year storm season. Crops, fowl and cattle were saved,” explains Ranh, now an official member of the Committee for Flood and Storm Control in her commune. Prior to the project, there were few women on the Committees for Flood and Storm Control (CFSC) in the village. Through the training of women in disaster management, as well as national lobbying – supported by UN Women, UNDP and other stakeholders – the contribution of women has been recognized... Read more

Policy Developments and Outlook: Women Contributions

10th Session of the World Urban Forum: Implementing the New Urban Agenda to drive Sustainable Change. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015) and the New Urban Agenda (2016) both acknowledge that urbanization is a key transformative force for sustainable development.

Resultado de imagen para wuf 10
Cities will play an increasingly critical role both in enabling countries to achieve sustainable development and to respond to the climate crisis. It is estimated that up to 65 percent of SDG targets are not achievable without defining a clear role for urban stakeholders in implementation of the NUA and the 2010 Agenda.

Cities have a clear role to play in ending poverty (SDG1); reducing inequality (SDG10); promoting inclusive and sustainable growth and providing full and productive employment (SDG8); ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns (SDG12) and combating climate change and its impacts (SDG13)..Read more

UR Central America. This conference seeks to build strategic alliances between experts, organizations, academic institutions and other key actors, to move from understanding risk to action in disaster resilience. Through regional collaboration and integration processes, UR Central America will present best practices and innovations for disaster risk compression and climate risk, and explore a variety of issues from disruptive technologies to community participation, which can be used to improve disaster risk management in the region... Read more

UR Central America will present expert voices in various specialties related to disaster risk management and resilience. Among them is a series of very important professionals and experts in the field... Read more