Resilient Islands Project

The Resilient Islands (RI) Project is a four-year Initiative (2017-2021) in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and is being implemented in the Caribbean territories of Grenada, Dominican Republic and Jamaica and is focused on assisting these countries to adapt to climate change by incorporating community based approaches and prioritizing the benefits of natural ecosystems to reduce communities’ vulnerability and enhance their resilience.

The RI Project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) under the International Climate Initiative (IKI), was launched in Jamaica on April 12, 2018 and has since made considerable strides in expanding the JRC’s risk reduction reach to local communities, in recognition of the intrinsic link between human well-being and that of the natural environment and the understanding that “when we care for nature, we also care for humanity”.

Under the RI Project, the JRC in partnership working with TNC has achieved the following:

Tools and Capacity Building

Partnered with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to develop an objective vulnerability centred community prioritization tool known as the Modified Vulnerability Ranking Index.

The modified tool now includes ecosystem considerations as aspects of vulnerability and was first utilized to select the Old Harbour Bay community in which the RI Project has been working. The JRC and TNC continue to provide funding and technical support for the augmenting and expansion of the Ranking Index by the ODPEM for greater national use and benefit.

Assisted in building the capacity of 65 Government and other partner representatives through the provision of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Drone Mapping training aimed at advancing risk reduction efforts being made on behalf of local communities

Resilient Islands Project
Drone image of some government partners participating in Drone Training in Old Harbour Bay offered by the RI Project

Contributed to building the capacity of JRC Volunteers in areas such as Knowledge Attitude and Practices Surveys, Open Data Kits (ODK), Drone Mapping, GIS and Enhanced Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (eVCA) among others. JRC volunteers continue to play a critical role in community level interventions in Old Harbour Bay under the RI Project.

Jamaica Red Cross Resilient Islands Project
JRC Volunteers being trained as Enhanced Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment Facilitators under the RI Project

Local level community actions

The JRC has made significant improvement in the process of community level assessments and resilience building through the RI Project, which could serve as a model for community intervention going forward. The project has adopted the IFRC’s Roadmap to Community Resilience as its implementation methodology and, together with increased scientific rigour, is aimed at arriving at the best options for building resilience of the local community in a replicable step by step manner, using the most efficient and inclusive tools with the community at the centre. Some of the activities undertaken in Old Harbour Bay to date under the RI Project include:
  • drone and sea floor mapping of the community
  • hazard, exposure, vulnerability and capacity mapping of the area
  • knowledge attitudes and practices (KAP) survey
  • rapid ecological assessment of the community and surrounding area
  • creation of a community fact sheet
  • undertaking of an enhanced vulnerability and capacity assessment (eVCA) among others.
This robust data collection will lead to the development of a Resilience Action Plan for Old Harbour Bay, to include Nature based Solutions for the reduction of risks and building the community’s adaptive capacity to climate change. A suite of Nature-based Solutions is also being developed for the community.
Jamaica Red Cross Resilient Islands Project
Jamaica Red Cross Resilient Islands Project

Planting of test Mangrove Seedlings in Old Harbour Bay with plans to expand restoration in the vulnerable coastal community

The Resilient Islands project team from the Jamaica Red Cross planted mangroves in Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine as part of its efforts to protect communities against the impacts of climate change by promoting the use of coastal habitats to reduce risks.

Resilient Islands Policy Work

The JRC through the RI project is aiming to positively influence national laws and policies to ensure that the importance of nature in reducing risks is recognized and that the role of local communities remains central as efforts are made to reduce disaster risks. The project has established a Technical Committee on Policy, undertaken a country analysis and development of roadmap for action and has been undertaking policy discussions with relevant government and other stakeholders.

Showcasing the work of the Jamaica Red Cross

The JRC’S work through the Resilient Islands Project has been showcased on many regional and international platforms, including:
CDEMA’s Regional Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Conference 2019
Climate Red
IFRC’s Red Climate Summit 2020
Climate Week NYC 2020

New York Climate Week 2020

United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 in Madrid, Spain 2020
Climate Red
JRC served as part of Global enhanced vulnerability and capacity assessment review team at the Red Cross Head Quarters in Geneva, Switzerland in 2020.

World Wetlands Day: Blue Guide to Coastal Resilience Launch, 2021

Roadmap to Community Resilience (R2R): Jamaicanizing the R2R Approach, 2021

Planet Red Summit

Planet:Red 2021

Seventh Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean 2021

Ongoing Actions

The Resilient Islands Project is scheduled to conclude in 2021, however there are still remaining deliverables to be achieved under the Project in the Old Harbour Community. These include the development of the Old Harbour Bay Resilience Action Plan, small scale micro-projects and implementation of nature-based solutions. The RI Project will also be strengthening the existing Community Emergency Response Team in Old Harbour Bay through capacity building and the provision of resources.

The Jamaica Red Cross will also seek to continue accompanying, enabling and connecting the Old Harbour Community in its resilience building journey, long after the RI Project has officially ended and will also seek to replicate the RI Approach where possible. Ecosystem based Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation are now firm pillars of the JRC’s risk reduction efforts and will no doubt be expanded upon as we continue to serve vulnerable communities.