(Consultancy) Assessment of Disaster Response Capacities and Gaps in the Caribbean

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TERMS OF REFERENCE

Assessment of Disaster Response Capacities and Gaps in the Caribbean

1. INTRODUCTION

World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is a leading Canadian international development organization whose mission is to foster human development and global understanding through education and training. WUSC manages the implementation of the Field Support Services Project (FSSP) in the Caribbean, funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The FSSP-C aims to ensure the quality and relevance of Canada’s support in responding to the Government of Canada’s Caribbean Regional Development Program (CRDP)[1].

The FSSP Caribbean requires the services of a Disaster Risk Management Consultancy team to undertake a study to identify practical, effective and sustainable ways to strengthen the disaster response capability in the region. The assessment is intended to not only look at the governance and structural mechanisms, but also to look carefully at the operational elements of the system.

2. BACKGROUND

As one of the Caribbean’s top development issues, Environment and Climate Action programming, including gender-sensitive disaster risk reduction, is a leading focus of Canada’s international assistance to the region. Canada’s support thus far has prioritized strengthening the region’s climate resilience and supporting the implementation of comprehensive disaster management.

Following the devastating impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, Canada pledged $100 million to support resilience building in the Caribbean. Included in this commitment was $8M for the project Targeted Support to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) (TSCP) (2018-23), in which strengthening the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM)[2] is a key action area.

A comprehensive independent review[3] of the performance of the RRM was undertaken in 2019-2020 (funded by the EU) that assessed its adequacy, recommended areas for improvement, and developed a Plan of Action. It provides a thorough analysis of the guidelines, standard operating procedures, structures, knowledge, capacities and technical competencies that exist in the region, including at the national level. Beyond the assessment of current status, it also looks at potential future scenarios to identify the priority technical areas that need attention for adequate preparedness at both national and regional levels for future risks. The key findings and recommendations have been directly extracted and are included in Annex A.

Through the Canada-funded TSCP, results have already been achieved that directly respond to the recommendations of the RRM review. Annual table-top training exercises are being held to ensure that RRM partners fully understand how it works and what their role is. Key pieces of RRM documentation are being developed, such as the demobilization and handover guidance for responding teams and addressing gaps in the regional civil-military coordination systems for example. Awareness raising about the RRM has been taking place at all levels, training in search and rescue delivered, and progress is being made on addressing psychosocial support in disasters.

Other Canadian funded projects have also supported the expansion of the RRM to provide support in the immediate recovery phase of a disaster, as well as undertaking a detailed assessment and developing an action plan for a more sustainable financing approach for CDEMA. More recently, Canada has provided funding to support the establishment of a Regional Logistics Hub and training centre in Barbados that will provide the infrastructure for managing relief supplies and help build capacity in the region for supply-chain management in a crisis. Support has also been provided to strengthen social protection systems in countries, so that they can be used to get money to the most vulnerable in society following a disaster.

In CDEMA’s recently launched 2022-2027 Corporate Plan[4], one of the core objectives is to take the RRM to the next level in order to meet the changing needs of the region. Recent years have shown that events are becoming more extreme, deployments are therefore getting longer, and multiple hazards are occurring at the same time resulting in complicated response scenarios.

Global Affairs Canada would like to undertake this study to identify practical, effective and sustainable ways to strengthen the response capability in the region. The assessment is intended to not only look at the governance and structural mechanisms, but also to look carefully at the more operational elements of the system to answer questions like:

  • How many people would realistically need to deploy in a team?
  • What equipment is still needed?
  • How do we move people and equipment by road/air/sea?
  • What capacity is there to generate/purify and distribute water?
  • How will these elements be maintained and sustained?

Canada has been supporting the RRM since 2004 when Hurricane Ivan devastated Grenada. Significant advances have been seen in that time, but the context within which it is operating is also changing. It is time for the RRM to make a leap forward to prepare for the new reality. This study would include a comprehensive assessment of the status of gender-responsive disaster response capacity and identify where and how Canada can best contribute to its strengthening in the region.

3. OBJECTIVE

The objective of the consultancy is to review the current status, assess gaps, and identify potential opportunities for Canadian expertise and programming to further strengthen the capacity of the region to ensure gender-responsive disaster response.

4. DESCRIPTION OF SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED

The consultancy team will do a deep dive into what currently exists to strengthen the response capacity in the region, how these come together, and what is still needed.

The activities/tasks to be undertaken include:

  • Review existing documentation on the readiness of the region to respond to disasters, including gender-responsive capacity.
  • Review ongoing projects that might be addressing some of the existing gaps to understand what is already underway, and the gender responsive disaster response capacity that currently exists.
  • Engage with stakeholders to verify the information gathered and fill gaps in understanding.
  • Identify opportunities for upscaling and/or gaps that would benefit from additional support[5], including where and how Canada can best contribute.
  • Identify the challenges and barriers that may have limited uptake of existing resources and/or that threaten the sustainability of future investments and provide recommended solutions.
  • Identify potential partners both in Canada and in the Caribbean region who may be able to assist with strengthening the capacity gaps. This would include Canadian agencies, government departments, military or special units at the federal/provincial levels, NGOs/CSOs, or those in the Caribbean who would be well-placed to deliver these interventions.
  • Provide initial budget estimates for recommended and priority interventions based on the opportunities and gaps identified.

5. CONSULTANT TEAM PROFILE

The Assessment of Disaster Response Capacities and Gaps in the Caribbean consultancy can either be conducted by a consulting firm with a qualified team, or a team of qualified individuals with the following education, experience, abilities, knowledge and skills:

Education:

The Team Leader should possess

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited, recognized institution in a relevant discipline such as Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Management, Sustainability, International Development, Disaster Risk Management, Emergency Planning and Response, or other related fields.

Experience:

The Team Leader should possess

  • Minimum of ten (10) years professional experience working in the field of disaster risk management and emergency response, five years (5) of which should be international experience
  • Knowledge of climate change adaptation/resilience and natural resource programming
  • Demonstrated experience providing technical and practical advice and analyses to national or local government and or development organizations (e.g. bilateral donors, NGOs, multilateral organizations), on a variety of disaster risk responses, environment and climate action issues, with attention to results-based management, results reporting, capacity needs assessments, resource generation, program and project evaluation, multiple stakeholder coordination and ensuring gender-responsiveness.
  • A strong network of key stakeholders in Canada and internationally that would be able to provide technical assistance in disaster management
  • Canadian experience would be considered an asset to this position

Team member/s

  • At least seven (7) years professional experience working in the field of disaster risk management, emergency response, and related fields in the Caribbean.
  • Demonstrated experience providing technical and practical advice and analyses to national or local governments, development organizations (i.e., bilateral donors, NGOs, multilateral organizations), on a variety of disaster risk responses, environment and climate action issues, with attention to results-based management, results reporting, needs assessments, resource generation, program and project evaluation, multiple stakeholder coordination and ensuring gender-responsiveness.
  • Experience undertaking capacity assessments and analyzing project/program results.
  • Experience working in gender and development.
  • Specific experience in the area of gender and disaster risk management and emergency would be an asset. 

Abilities:

  • Capacity to work both with others and independently with minimal supervision.
  • Capacity to proactively identify gaps and priority gender responsive actions relevant to the Canadian development program.
  • Capacity to plan and deliver the required outputs.
  • Capacity to research, collect and analyse qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Proven ability to analyze complex operational systems and identify common issues and priorities.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills for a variety of audiences and purposes – from senior government and international organizational levels to community groups.
  • Ability to develop, nurture and harness key networks.

Knowledge and Skills:

  • Extensive knowledge of the Caribbean’s disaster threats, risks and challenges, and opportunities for disaster responses. 
  • Sound understanding of Caribbean systems for disaster risk management and response mechanisms.
  • Strong understanding of gender-responsive disaster management responses and
  • Good knowledge of Canadian networks of expertise in disaster risk management.
  • Extensive network of with key stakeholders in the Caribbean’s disaster management, and international assistance sector, including local government(s) and NGOs/CSOs.
  • Excellent writing skills, with the ability to analyse, compile and synthesize information in coherent and succinct formats and effectively communicate technical knowledge, advice, and results in a clear and concise manner for non-experts. 
  • A drive for results, including a proven track record of high standards/accountability for work products, meeting tight deadlines, and ability to prioritize tasks within his/her work program and strategies for working collectively with others on the team to deliver products of the highest calibre;

6. LANGUAGE OF WORK

English is the working language for this mandate. 

7. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Disaster Risk Management Consultancy Team will report directly to the FSSP Caribbean Manager, based in Kingston, Jamaica who has responsibility for the administration of the contract. Technical oversight of activities under the contract will be provided by the GAC Focal person, this includes approving work plans, deliverables, reports, etc.

8. DELIVERABLES, ACTIVITIES AND LEVEL OF EFFORT

Refno.DeliverableActivitiesApproximate Level of Effort
   Initial Meeting to review TORs and agree on deliverables.5
1Submission of Initiation  Report and Detailed Work PlanPrepare a report to include approach, timetable of activities, planned outreach methods and indicative list of contacts.  3
  Review existing documentation on the readiness of the region to respond to disasters including gender-responsive capacity.Conduct desk review of ongoing projects that might be addressing some of the existing gaps to understand what is already underway and the gender responsive disaster response capacity that currently exists. .7
2Submission of Guide Questions for interviews/focus groups with key stakeholdersIdentify initial list of key stakeholders from across the Caribbean and Canada  5
Engage with these key stakeholders to verify the information gathered and fill gaps in understanding. (May be virtually and/or in person)20
  Identify opportunities for upscaling and/or gaps that would benefit from additional support[6].7
    Identify the challenges and barriers that may have limited uptake of existing resources and/or that threaten the sustainability of future investments and provide recommended solutions.5
  Identify appropriate partners in Canada and the Caribbean including who would be well-placed to deliver these interventions.7
 3Draft report – To include analysis of projects in the sector (existing projects, gaps and opportunities); partner assessments; priority interventions and supporting budget estimates  Recommend priority interventions based on the opportunities and gaps identified and validate priorities with key experts. Provide initial budget estimates for recommended priority interventions.10
4Revised Final reportFinalize report based on comments/ feedback from GAC3
 TOTAL 66 Days

8. ESTIMATED LEVEL OF EFFORT

This assignment has an expected level of effort of 66 days from the period May 29 to October 31, 2023.

9. MEETINGS

An initial meeting will be held to discuss the Terms of Reference and to ensure a clear understanding of the expectations and deliverables.

10. LOCATION OF WORK

Home based – the Disaster Risk Management consultancy team will work remotely from their own facilities.  

11. TRAVEL

Necessary travel may be proposed by the consultancy team after a desk review of necessary background documents and in developing the work plan. These should be approved by GAC prior to travel.

12. APPLICATIONS

WUSC’s activities seek to balance inequities and create sustainable development around the globe; the work ethic of our staff, volunteers, representatives and partners shall correspond to the values and mission of the organization. WUSC promotes responsibility, respect, honesty, and professional excellence and will not tolerate harassment, coercion, sexual exploitation or abuse of any form. Successful applicants will be required to undertake an enhanced criminal record check where appropriate.

WUSC is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome and encourage applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available upon request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.

Submissions should include the curriculum vitae for the all persons proposed as the team of consultants that will undertake the assessment. The identified Team Leader of the selected team will contacted. No telephone calls please.

Interested parties should send an expression of interest and curriculum vitae for each team member by May 12, 2023 to [email protected] Please indicate “FSSP Caribbean – Disaster Response Assessment” as the subject line of your email.

 

Annex A

Recommendations excerpt from 2019-2020 review of the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM)

Proposed recommendations for Year 1 and Year 2

Foundational: create preconditions for all-hazard disaster response preparedness in the region

1. Carry out regional hazard profiling (hurricane, earthquakes, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, health, and technological hazards) for the Caribbean region which can be further used for more specific risk assessments by various stakeholders for various purposes.

2. Carry out regional security hazard profiling for the Caribbean region in partnership with relevant regional security actors. This profiling can be further used for more specific risk assessments by various stakeholders for various purposes.

3. Commission study on the role of the RRM in response to security scenarios and which operational modalities to employ to mobilize existing regional security mechanisms.

4. Regularly design disaster response scenarios for the most probable and the worst-case scenarios with due consideration of multiple island and simultaneous hazard events

5. Regularly carry out the RRM stress test vis-à-vis the designed scenarios

Foundational: normative and regulatory framework for the CDEMA RRM

1. Review the Regional Doctrine

2. Revise the RRM Booklet with new services, structure of the RRM

3. Define the point of exit for the RRM (including shadow period) and ToR for handover to the local teams.

4. Develop the ToR for the HCMC including the rules of activation and de-activation of the HCMC

5. Revise the RRM Levels of activation, clearly demarcating stand-by and activation stages of the RRM and developing relevant guidance’s and SOPs

6. Develop the TOR for the multi-agency coordination platform at the RCC level for both (a) permanent member and (b) voluntary member

7. Initiate negotiations with UN RCOs on how better to coordinate UN engagement in the RRM

8. Initiate high-level discussions on the proposed Caribbean Regional Response Code of Conduct to acquire formal signature of the key international, regional, and national partners

9. Develop the RRM accountability framework including also the minimum standards for the RRM operational performance (e.g. deployment standards, standards on the PPE and PPC, on initial request for assistance, minimum response time of RRM, etc.) and semi-standardize the AARs

Awareness raising about the CDEMA RRM

1. Raise awareness about the RRM among national non-disaster related authorities

2. Raise awareness about the RRM among regional and international partners

3. Develop CDEMA RRM branding strategy in close cooperation with the CARICOM Secretariat

4. Design the RRM grievance system and broadly promote it

Building technical capacities of the CDEMA RRM

1. Build technical capacities of the RRM to provide psychological support to the affected population

2. Build a half-day training course for high-level executives on the RRM and ways how to engage with RRM when activated

3. Design standardized training packages for each deployment teams: COST, RNAT, CDAC, CDRU, and RSART including technical and leadership specializations

4. Organize CDEMA-branded regular table-top and field simulation exercises

5. CDEMA and the RRM to actively participate in various international and regional table-top and field simulation exercises

Strengthen institutional capacities of the RRM

1. Establish HCMC Focal Point in CDEMA CU

2. Hire Corporate Fundraiser for CDEMA to develop and implement various sustainable financing initiatives for the RRM

3. Design Growth Strategy for the SRFPs for 2020-2024

4. Partner up with relevant regional organization to provide mandatory psycho-social counseling for all RRM deployed teams

5. Create a pool of experts to be mobilized to provide niche expertise for immediate recovery phase during or in the aftermath of the RRM activation

6. Create the pool of vetted response organizations that are willing and capable to support the RRM in disaster response phase and make it public at the CDEMA website

7. Revisit the RRM Deployment teams, their mandates and composition as follows:

  • New mandate for RNAT as the RRM deployment team (and not donors’ team) to carry out sectoral post-disaster needs assessment 1-2 weeks after a disaster. Work with UN-OCHA and other partners to design the analytical framework for sectorial post-disaster needs assessment.
  • New mandate for CDAC to ensure team is pre-deployed and has the mandate for situational awareness and needs assessment to inform operational decisions of the EOC on daily basis
  • New mandate for COST to be pre-deployed and to ensure two critical roles: (a) supporting the performance of the EOC and (b) leadership and management of the EOC
  • New mandate for CDRU to be pre-deployed and ensure there is a pool of reserve experts to mobilize for disaster response

8. Design pool of experts for each deployment team and with all arrangements for Team A (stand-by), Team B on annual basis.

9. Develop and carry out training courses for the RSART to obtain INSARAG certification.

10. Develop semi-standardized analytical framework for situational awareness and needs assessment to be carried out by CDAC to support daily operational decisions at the EOC.

11. Carry out supply chain risk assessment prior to engaging in any comprehensive logistical reforms for the RRM.

Equipment

1. Carry out audit of regional transportation means (public and private) to be mobilized in disaster response

2. Carry out audit of regional telecommunication means and regulations to support effective telecommunication services in disaster response

3. CDEMA to acquire personal protective equipment and personal protective cloths

4. CDEMA to target commercial transportation companies to establish MOUs to guarantee, marine, and land transportation in disaster response situations

5. Work with HCMC to develop standard ‘availability declaration’ from HCMC on annual basis

Sustainable funding of the CDEMA RRM

The recommendations for sustainable funding of the RRM are based on the expectation of three (3) activations each year with two (2) countries requiring RRM activation at level 3. It is recommended to aim at 2 million USD annually to defray expenses incurred in connection with disaster response operations of the RRM.

1. CDEMA executive and technical team in partnership with CARIFORUM to explore opportunities for channeling EU-support to the needs of the RRM.

2. Commission a comprehensive study to explore options and define optimal combination of various sustainable financing instruments for the RRM with the aim to ensure 2 million USD for the RRM Response Fund annually.

Proposed recommendations for post-2024 period

1. Build centers of excellence on the basis of each SRFP

2. Broaden the pool of highly qualified experts according to the technical profiles already identified for the RRM

3. Build the RRM’s water search & rescue capacities including teams, infrastructure, training courses and specialized training grounds, etc.

4. Closely monitor health-related risks in the region and define the priorities for the strengthening of the RRM specialization in responding to those specific health needs.

5. Build the RRM’s capacities to respond to security-related threats

6. Build the RRM’s capacities to respond to CBRNE related threats through developing the CBRN Strategy template and Guidance for HazMat Risk Inventory.

7. It is most probable that the telecommunication and transportation issues will not be fully solved within 2020-2024 period. Therefore, for the post-2024 period it will be required to assess the progress made and design the next steps for the improvements.

8. Build scenarios for Level 4 activation and develop relevant processes, SOPs, etc.

9. Strengthen the CDEMA’s response team in the long-run (by adding new personnel and increasing budget to be able to implement its mandatory responsibilities and meet the needs of the CDEMA PSs)


[1] The Caribbean Regional Development Program includes the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

[2] The RRM is the system through which disaster response support is provided by many partners (government, international agencies, civil society and private sector) to the affected state, in recognition of the fact that countries in the region are not able to maintain all elements of national capacity that might be needed to manage a disaster themselves.

[3] Magda Stepanyan from the Netherlands was the consultant.

[4] This has not yet been published, but was launched and summarized at the December 2022 CDM Conference in Barbados.

[5] The intent is to identify practical, effective and sustainable ways to strengthen the response capability in the region. This could be to strengthen technical capacities, strengthen systems or provide equipment, amongst other things.

[6] The intent is to identify practical, effective and sustainable ways to strengthen the response capability in the region. This could be to strengthen technical capacities, strengthen systems or provide equipment, amongst other things.

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