Disaster Recovery Capacity Audit of Guyana’s Agriculture Sector Conducted by CDEMA and the World Bank.

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(Civil Defence Commission Press Release) – Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) collaborated with the World Bank, the Enabling Gender-Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate and Environmental Resilience in the Caribbean (EnGenDER) to host a virtual workshop on February 17, 2021 to assess Guyana’s Agriculture Sector disaster recovery capacity.

This workshop focused on the completion of the sectoral level assessment of the with an emphasis on the agriculture sector. Sharon Layne-Augustine, CDEMA’s Planning and Business Development Manager (Ag), in her remarks, highlighted, “since the revision of the recovery component of the tool in September 2020, we are now better able to assess the state of resilient recovery and identify gaps. This ensures that underlying risks and long-term recovery are addressed. The recovery phase of the Audit Tool now also better recognises inclusiveness through the promotion of partnerships and collaboration across multiagency and interdisciplinary groups. It also now promotes better social inclusion as it considers gender, the poor, elderly and other vulnerable groups such as farmers and fishers who rely on natural resources for their livelihood and are at high risk to disaster impacts”.

“The application of the CDM Audit Tool Recovery component and the analysis of data gathered is expected to inform the efforts of national governments, DRM agencies, sectoral stakeholders, and CDEMA to enable a faster and resilient recovery in the aftermath of disasters with a focus on most affected sectors. Also, recommendations resulting from the assessment will inform the identification and design of technical assistance activities to improve resilient recovery in national sectors of eligible countries over the short, medium, and long term.

In addition to Guyana, these countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname”.

Some of this technical assistance will be financed by the EnGender project and the CRF”, Mrs. Augustine explained. In January 2021 with support from the CDEMA, the Canada Caribbean Resilience Facility and the World Bank, the Civil Defence Commission commenced the application of a national disaster recovery audit to ascertain the country’s disaster recovery capacity.

This process led to a more focused approach on the Agricultural Sector, which is one of the largest sectors that contribute significantly to the economy in Guyana, however, the sector is very susceptible to the impacts of natural and anthropogenic hazards.

Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, Director General of the CDC, in his opening remarks stated, “Guyana’s coastal plain, where most of the agricultural land and businesses are located, is highly vulnerable to floods and droughts. The reported frequency of natural emergencies and disasters has risen significantly in the past years, with the coastal zones particularly exposed. Managing the changes in coastal dynamics and protecting our agriculture sector should not be taken for granted”.

Lieutenant Colonel Craig said, “emphasis should be placed on identifying the risks, build capacities to reduce the risks, and if there is an impact, the focus should be on building back better. Recovery should not only take into consideration the current risk levels, but future risk and those risks associated with climate change”.

This Agriculture Sector Capacity Audit is designed to guide future agriculture recovery intervention that will transform and modernise the agriculture sector and transition it from having an immediate emergency response posture to a long-term recovery resilient sector. In closing, Lieutenant Colonel Craig expressed hope that the outputs of this audit are integrated into policies and plans of the agriculture sector and use to enhance the sector to ensure sustained growth.

Other participants in the workshop included representatives from the World Bank, Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), Fisheries Department, Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), National Agriculture Research & Extension Institute (NAREI), Pesticides and Toxic Chemical Control Board, Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), National Drainage & Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Hydrometeorological Department and Agriculture Sector Development Unit.

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