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Disaster risk and resilience in the Caribbean

Posted on 4 March 2019

York historian presents findings on disaster risk and resilience in the Caribbean

Henrice Altink presented findings of two GCRF-funded projects at the ‘Mobilising Global Voices: perspectives from the Global South’ conference in London on 28 February, which was co-organised by the AHRC and the House of Commons’ International Development Select Committee.

The first project is the AHRC-network ‘Risk and Resilience in the Coastal Caribbean’, which brought together Caribeanists from the arts and humanities, scientists and social scientists working on resilience, and external partners involved in resilience-building projects in the Caribbean, including the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The second project is a NERC-led ‘Building resilience along the Caribbean coast of Colombia in the face of sudden and slow-onset environmental hazards’. This project brought together a range of scholars from across the arts and humanities social sciences and physical sciences to explore the social, political, cultural and environmental histories of the Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta, Colombia’s largest coastal lagoon system over the last 200 years, particularly with a view to assess the factors that have made the ecosystem and the communities living in the area more or less resilient in the face of natural hazards and climate change.

Henrice presented her findings with two collaborators on the AHRC-network: Dr Emily Wilkinson from the Overseas Development and Marisa Clarke-Marshall from the IFRC in Trinidad. The presenters particularly encouraged policymakers at the event to adopt a long-term perspective, focusing on the past but also look further into the future by using such methods as future-scenario planning; to understand the socio-economic, political and cultural contexts of places facing natural hazards and/or climate change; to involve local communities in disaster risk reduction and climate change policies; and to develop feedback mechanisms so that local communities have easy access to expertise and data for preparedness, response and recovery planning.