JSIF spearheads national risk information platform

Monday, April 16, 2018

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The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) is spearheading the development of a national risk information platform, which will allow all risk data to be located and updated in a centralised platform that is available to government agencies and the public.

In an interview with JIS News, environment and project officer at JSIF, Stacey-Ann Preston, said that the platform will promote a culture of safety and risk reduction through the collection of targeted hazard and risk information, and will involve the assistance of several government ministries, departments and agencies.

“This platform will enhance the data-sharing capacities to facilitate integration of information. We know that people have data but we do not know what each person has and we do not want to reinvent the wheel, and so…this platform will enable the sharing mechanism to facilitate planning and development,” she explained.

Preston informed that a series of workshops and information sessions are being conducted to facilitate dialogue and obtain feedback from major stakeholders on the development of the platform.

“The sessions held so far engaged the parties and sparked discussions on the proposed platform to determine the type of data to be collected, how relevant the data would be to them, how they will be able to use it to guide or influence risk reduction and emergency management,” the project officer informed.

This sub-project being executed by the JSIF involves direct partnership with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management which will be responsible for monitoring and managing the data, while the National Spatial Data Management Division will be responsible for hosting the platform.

The National Environment & Planning Agency will also play a role in terms of providing solutions from the coastal and ecosystems-based assessments, which will be done on eight vulnerable areas.

These are Ocho Rios in St Ann; Black River, St Elizabeth; Savanna-la-mar in Westmoreland; Portland Cottage, Clarendon; Morant Bay in St Thomas; Manchioneal, Portland; Port Maria, St Mary and Alligator Pond in Manchester.

Preston added that the development of the risk platform is one of various initiatives being undertaken as part of the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP).

The project, which is being implemented by JSIF from 2016 to 2022, is funded by the Government of Jamaica through a loan agreement with the World Bank valued at US$30 million.

The various deliverables, the environment and project officer pointed out, are intended to reduce disaster and climate vulnerability by making infrastructure developments more resilient.

She added that the overall initiative will improve the capacity of government institutions to generate and use hazard and risk information to inform national planning and will also focus on increasing awareness about disaster-risk reduction, building resilience and emergency management.

“The DVRP is an example of collaboration and partnership across agencies and ministries, so it is critical that we mainstream across agencies the ability to use data to inform the development decisions that we make as a country,” Preston said.

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