Post-Georges National Mitigation Policy/Plan Development: Process Review
Post-Georges Disaster Mitigation Projectin Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts & Nevis
Post-Georges Disaster Mitigation in Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts & Nevis is implemented by the Organization of American States, Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment for USAID-Jamaica/Caribbean Regional Program
Organization of American States
Unit of Sustainable Development and Environment
1889 F Street NW Washington DC 20006
This report was prepared under contract with the OAS by Lynette Atwell.
TERMS OF REFERENCE 2.0
REPORT CONTENT 3.0
ACTIVITIES IN SUPPORT OF POLICY/ PLAN PREPARATION 4.0
TRAINING WORKSHOP IN Antigua and Barbuda MAY15-17, 2000 4.1
HAZARD ASSESSMENTS 4.2
VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENTS 4.3
CAPABILITY ASSESSMENTS 4.4
PLAN FORMULATION 4.5
SYSTEMS FOR PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION 5.0
THE MITIGATION COUNCIL 5.1
THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE 5.2
THE PLAN WRITER 5.3
THE ROLE OF THE NATIONAL OFFICE FOR DISASTER SERVICES 5.4
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THE PROJECT 6.0
COMMENTS ON THE ANTIGUA /BARBUDA POLICY PLAN. 7.0
TRAINING WORKSHOP IN ST KITTS AND NEVIS 8.1
HAZARD ASSESSMENTS 8.2
VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENTS 8.3
CAPABILITY ASSESSMENTS 8.4
PLAN FORMULATION 8.5
SYSTEMS FOR PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION 9.0
THE MITIGATION GUIDANCE COMMITTEE 9.1
THE PLAN WRITER 9.2
THE ROLE OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY 9.3
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THE PROJECT 10.0
COMMENTS ON THE STKITTS AND NEVIS POLICY PLAN 11.0
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 12.0
COUNTRY PROJECT MANAGEMENT 12.1
PRESENCE OF CONSULTANTS 12.3
HAZARD ASSESSMENTS 12.4
VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENTS 12.5
CAPABILITY ASSESSMENTS 12.6
PLAN WRITER 12.7
IN COUNTRY PROJECT REVIEW 12.8
One of the four objectives of the Post Georges Disaster Mitigation Project in Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis is that "An effective hazard mitigation policy and operational plan is adopted and implementation is started in each country." In keeping with this objective plans and policies were prepared for both territories. This report is prepared in fulfillment of Section IV c of the terms of reference for this project.
Under Section IV c of the terms of reference of this project the consultant is required to submit
"A final report on the project. Included in this report will be final copies of the supporting materials developed for the project, an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the final mitigation policy /plan documents and recommendations for how to best conduct similar activities elsewhere in the region."
The report is developed in the following manner
The training workshop was held prior to the commencement of plan preparation in Antigua and Barbuda. The main goal of the workshop was to introduce senior technical personnel in the public and private sector to the basic concepts and techniques of natural hazard mitigation and mitigation planning.
The workshop was designed to introduce representatives of the key agencies, which would be involved in the process of plan development, to the fundamentals of natural hazard mitigation. It was therefore essential that participants leave with a full understanding of the subject material. Three days was insufficient to present all of the material at the required level of detail, this was especially so as none of the participants had previous exposure to mitigation planning.
Several key sectors were not, or were inadequately, represented at the workshop, included among these were representatives from the agriculture, forestry, fisheries, education, housing, public works and the private sectors. Further, the Mitigation Council, which was required to guide the plan development process, had not yet been appointed and consequently could not be present at the workshop. The Plan Writer was not yet appointed and therefore could not attend the workshop.
The absence of these persons from the workshop was unfortunate, as all of them, in particular the Plan Writer, were unfamiliar with the area of disaster mitigation and needed the exposure in order for them to guide and inform the development of the mitigation plan.
Although there was representation from the National Office for Disaster Services (NODS), the head of the disaster agency was unable to attend the training workshop. This was unfortunate in that the workshop provided an opportunity to set the requirements for the development of the project and more particularly in mitigation plan development.
One of the major techniques used in the workshop was that the participants were required to prepare plans at a number of different levels, as several plans were required to be prepared by groups selected from among the participants. Use of this technique should be encouraged at any similar training workshops.
4.2 HAZARD ASSESSMENTS
The hazard assessments prepared by the individual consultants were of a good standard. They provide Antigua/Barbuda with an important database, which can inform work not only in disaster mitigation, but also in the areas of the Environment, Physical, Planning, Water Resources Management and Coastal engineering.
Although the consultants did not submit their work within the periods specified the work provided was very useful and informed the plan preparation exercise. The late submission of the reports delayed the preparation of the final plans
4.3 VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENTS
While a great deal of work was done in this area there was much more emphasis on the vulnerability of critical facilities as opposed to the determination of the areas at risk based upon the hazard assessments More emphasis should have been placed on the development of the mapping of the areas at risk. Given that the hazard assessments have already been completed this can be the next step in refining and using the information that is already available. This would be useful information to inform detailed local area mitigation and land use plans.
4.4 CAPABILITY ASSESSMENTS
Although the carrying out of a Capability Assessment was dealt with in the training workshop, because of the limited time available in the training workshop this area was not dealt with in depth. It was subsequently dealt with at length in the workshop at which the goals and objectives were developed as it was felt that this information was needed to inform the development of programmes and projects. In Antigua and Barbuda the capability assessment was carried out by the Plan Writer with little assistance from the agencies both in terms of collecting and analyzing the data. The work in this area would have been better informed if the Technical committee had participated fully in this exercise.
4.5 PLAN FORMULATION
As part of the plan formulation exercise a workshop was held to develop goals and objectives for the plan. It was very apparent that the Technical Committee, which participated in this exercise, was not accustomed to working together and formulating goals and objectives. As a result a great deal of time had to be taken to work through the development of goals and objectives to inform the Policy/Plan. Further work needed to be carried out on this exercise, but there was no follow up by the Technical Committee and the Plan Writer had to finalize the goals and objectives with the assistance of the Consultant.
In order to formulate the plan it was necessary for all of the agencies to work together to inform the work of the Plan Writer. Based upon how the work was proceeding the consultant advised that subcommittees be set up to oversee the development of the plan proposals in the areas of Planning and Environment, Social Services and Implementation. The setting up of these subcommittees was agreed to by the Technical Committee. Although they were set up and persons appointed to them, with the exception of the Planning and Environment Subcommittee they did not function well and as a result the Plan Writer was pretty much left on his own to work through the details of finalizing the plan. This was because there was no one agency or committee coordinating the plan preparation exercise. Given the project as conceived it was expected that the various committees would have overseen the required work. With the late appointment of the Mitigation Council there was no one in place to coordinate and direct the plan preparation exercise.
Systems were put in place for the implementation of the project:
5.1 THE MITIGATION COUNCIL
The Mitigation Council was not appointed until April 2001, this meant that no entity was in place to give the plan development leadership or direction.
5.2 THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE
The Technical Committee showed some enthusiasm for the project at first, but this seemed to wane midway in project, some of this appeared to be because they did not understand their function as facilitators in developing the plan. The committee also did not understand the role of the Plan Writer and seemed to believe that the he was expected, as a consultant, to develop the plan by himself. It also appeared that members of the committee were of the view that the work involved in development of the plan was extra work added to their existing portfolios.
5.3 THE PLAN WRITER
The communication between the Plan Writer and the Technical Committee was not very effective, and the group never developed the capacity to work as an integrated team. The Plan Writer, a seasoned professional with high level experience in several government ministries, did not have a direct technical background in disaster mitigation. This limitation evidently affected the plan writing process.
5.4 THE ROLE OF THE NATIONAL OFFICE FOR DISASTER SERVICES
Although the National Office for Disaster Services devoted a great deal of time to the project, this agency did not assume any major leadership role in the implementation of the project. Given the late appointment of the Mitigation Council, there was a real need for NODS to play a greater leadership role in this project.
The following is an overall assessment of the project in terms of its strengths and weaknesses:
The Antigua plan provides a general framework for carrying forward work in disaster mitigation, however the analytical work in the area of vulnerability assessment in the Policy/Plan is not very strong.
The hazard assessments prepared which by the consultants which informed the plan preparation were of good quality, but a great deal of this work is not reflected in the Policy/Plan.
Some of the projects and proposals were well developed but they should be included in the plan itself rather than in the Appendix to the plan.
The section on the proposed structure for implementation needs to be reviewed by all the affected agencies in order to ensure that they agree and are committed to the approach as outlined.
Further work needs to be carried out on the detailing, phasing and costing of projects as identified in the Policy/Plan, in order to determine the requirements for implementation. The implementation agencies need to be brought together to inform this process so that these programmes and projects can be properly assessed and included in the respective agency budgets.
There is also the need for the plan to be monitored. The Policy/Plan has proposals for this activity and agreement about how this is to be done should be arrived at as soon as possible to ensure that the projects are being implemented.
Work will also need to be carried out on the updating of the technical data used to inform the plan. Although the plan has proposals for monitoring and updating some attention needs to be paid to the setting up of systems for updating, maintaining, and storage of the data generated by the project. Systems for making the data available to all agencies also need to be developed.
8.1 TRAINING WORKSHOP ST. KITTS AND NEVIS 13-15 JUNE 2000
The specific purpose of this workshop was to introduce key agencies to the fundamentals of hazard mitigation. The workshop was well attended by a wide cross section of representatives from a number of agencies, however representation from the private sector was limited with only one person attending.
The participants themselves expressed the view that the time for the presentation of the information was very limited. Given that much of the material was new to them it appears that more time was needed to fully understand the concepts. In addition the consultants were aware at the time that some of the material covered needed to be dealt with in a more comprehensive manner. The three-day workshop was inadequate to cover all of the material for participants to have a clear understanding of all of the concepts covered in the workshop.
Although staff from the NEMA was present at the workshop the head of the agency did not attend, since this agency was supposed to assist in the guidance of the project this was unfortunate as the workshop provided information with respect to the development of the project as well as the preparation of the Policy/Plan.
8.2 HAZARD ASSESSMENTS
The hazard assessments prepared for the prioritized hazards by the individual consultants were of a good standard and provided valuable information which will be useful not only for informing work in the area of disaster mitigation, but also environmental and other developmental work.
The delay in the submission of reports caused the rest of the work on the project to be behind schedule and as a result delayed work in the finalisation of the Policy/Plan.
8.3 VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENTS
A great deal of work was done in this area, however much of the emphasis appears to have been placed on the assessment of critical facilities Some emphasis should have been placed on the mapping of the areas at risk based upon the hazard assessments, as this information is key to determining the parameters for location of development which is a major mitigation measure.
8.4 CAPABILITY ASSESSMENTS
The assessment of the capability of the departments can only be as good as the information provided. The information provided by the departments was not comprehensive, and further information had to be requested from them. The consultant had to provide a great deal of assistance in this area. Work in this area would have been considerably improved if the technical agencies had participated more fully in this exercise. The Plan Writer carried out this assessment with minimal involvement of the agencies. An exercise like this would have benefited a great deal from group participation and discussion.
8.5 PLAN FORMULATION
The development of the goals and objectives as part of the plan formulation exercise was very well done and was informed by the entire Mitigation Guidance Committee. This exercise was carried out by most members of the committee and a well-balanced and coherent set of goals and objectives were developed.
In terms of the development of the plan the approach taken in St Kitts and Nevis was quite good, as in the final stages of the plan development process the Guidance Committee assigned tasks to various groups, which were required to report in plenary session. However, there seemed to be a lack of constant dialogue as to how the plan was to be developed and some of this activity took place too late in the process. Much of the impetus for plan development seemed to emanate from the OAS Director, which made the whole process in St Kitts and Nevis very focused.
Systems were put in place for the implementation of the project. These were
With the exception of the appointment of the Plan Writer all appointments were made prior to the start of the project. This combined with the fact that the OAS Director was part of the Guidance Committee set the tone for the project in St Kitts and Nevis and as a result the activities carried out in the project were very focused from the beginning of the project.
9.1 THE MITIGATION GUIDANCE COMMITTEE
This committee functioned very well and held formal meetings with recorded minutes. The Committee guided the plan process and was involved at all stages of the project. The Committee needed to be give some technical direction at all stages of the project. This only happened when the lead consultants were present. This meant that major technical issues were only resolved at those times.
9.2 THE PLAN WRITER
The fact that a Plan Writer was appointed was crucial to the development of the plan, as without the Plan Writer there would have been serious difficulty in developing the plan. The Guidance Committee understood the role of the Plan Writer, and she related well to the Committee, however, she could have been provided with more technical information by the individual agencies, which would have made her task simpler, given that the consultants were not always available for discussions.
9.3 THE ROLE OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (NEMA)
The National Emergency Management Agency did not emerge as a leader in the plan development process, although this agency formed part of the Mitigation Guidance Committee. As the agency charged with the responsibility for disaster management and more particularly mitigation this agency should have been at the forefront in assisting with the development of the policy/plan.
The plan provides a useful framework for mitigation activities in St Kitts and Nevis. The goals and objectives prepared by the Guidance Committee were wide-ranging and addressed the mitigation issues in St Kitts and Nevis. The Policy /Plan did not make sufficient use of the information generated by the hazard studies, and too much emphasis was placed on the critical facilities in the plan analysis. The analyses informing the plan proposals could have been stronger but this may stem from a lack of familiarity by both the Mitigation Guidance Committee and the Plan Writer in mitigation planning. In addition to this much of the plan formulation took place at the very end of the project and the time may have been limited for in depth analysis of all of the material generated by the project.
The plans and policies were well handled, but I do not understand why the projects were omitted from the plan and left for the various agencies to address on an individual basis.
There are excellent records and data from the project and every effort should be made to keep these up to date and to ensure that they are properly stored. The NEMA should be charged with this responsibility.
In Antigua and Barbuda it was very apparent that there was a lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities for carrying out work on this project, further to this, the late appointment of the Mitigation Council meant that there was no body responsible for coordinating the plan preparation activity. In St Kitts and Nevis where the Mitigation Guidance Committee was appointed at the beginning of the project and worked as a team to provide direction, the project was focused from its inception.
In both countries much of the work on the plan development was left to be done in the last few months of the project, while some of this was understandable, as the hazard reports and vulnerability assessments had to be completed prior to carrying out the analyses to inform the proposals, there could have been more discussions as to form of the plan development and more involvement in the Capability Assessments. In addition there could have been wider participation by government technical agencies.
It is in the area of project management that the projects were deficient as roles and responsibilities were not clearly defined. In the Antigua this deficiency was further exacerbated because the main coordinating group (the Mitigation Council) was only appointed when the project was almost completed
On the whole the project produced a great amount of work, in that a considerable amount of information has been generated to inform mitigation activity and a basic framework for carrying out mitigation measures is now available in both countries. There is the need to continue to build upon this work.
The following are measures recommended for improving projects similar to these:
12.1 COUNTRY PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Intersectoral projects require a great deal of collaboration among agencies and many agencies in the region are not used to working together. Mitigation planning is by its very nature an intersectoral activity. It is therefore necessary to determine very early the systems for managing this type of project. While there was an OAS Project Coordinator, there was no in country Project Coordinator to ensure that the various committees and agencies carried out their functions. There is the need to set up systems in the countries where the projects are being carried out for the management of the project prior to the start of the project. The Committees should be appointed before any project is started.
All of the agencies and committees who are key to the development of the project should be brought together prior to the start of the project and the implications for carrying out work on the project should be detailed. Agencies should be asked to indicate the time and resources they are willing to commit to the project
The roles and responsibilities of all agencies involved in the project should been defined before the start of the project. The lead agencies and actors in the project should be identified, their, responsibilities defined and reporting mechanisms agreed to prior to the start of the project.
All activities should be related to dates and specific outputs as outlined in the project schedule. This would mean that the plan outline would have to be prepared before the training workshop.
Further to this persons and not agencies should be identified and appointed to work on the plan.
A lead agency should be identified for carrying forward work on the project. This agency could be the Disaster Agency, however these agencies in both territories as well as the wider Caribbean do not appear to be adequately staffed. The planning agency may also be considered as the lead agency given its experience in the development of plans. What is very evident though, is that a lead agency which will coordinate activities and ensure that work is completed on schedule needs to be identified in country. A public service representative person who will monitor and ensure that the required work is carried out should be identified and charged with the responsibility for ensuring that these activities take place within the prescribed times and that regular meetings to discuss issues are held.
Further to the above a short training session on project management should be arranged for the key actors in the process.
The training workshops were too short to deal with all of the material that needed to be covered and consideration should be given to extending the training workshops by one day.
12.3 PRESENCE OF CONSULTANTS
More frequent visits from the consultants are recommended, as there is the need to continually monitor all plan activities and provide continuous technical direction in projects of this nature.
12.4 HAZARD ASSESSMENTS
The time allowed for the completion of the hazard assessments did not appear to be realistic and it is recommended that a longer period be allocated for completion of these types of studies.
12.5 VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENTS
The vulnerability assessments need to be prepared in a more rigorous manner and more use must be made of the hazard assessments in identifying vulnerable areas. This will have some implications for additional mapping.
12.6 CAPABILITY ASSESSMENTS
The Capability Assessments must be the reviewed by the entire group that is involved in the plan preparation process.
12.7 PLAN WRITERS
The provision of Plan Writers ensured that someone was in place to draft the plan document, as there can be no collective responsibility for such a function. This idea was well conceived, but greater attention will have to be paid to the selection of persons to carry out this type of function. It is recommended that in future persons who are selected to carry out this function should have some technical training. This does not necessarily mean that the person selected should be trained in Mitigation Planning, as it is unrealistic to expect that this skill will be readily available in the Caribbean. It is therefore recommended that persons with training in physical planning, environment, geography or other related area, with writing skills, be selected to perform this function. This is necessary as the lack of familiarity with technical areas makes assessment of the technical information difficult.
In assessing persons to carry out the plan writing function care should be taken to select persons who can fit in with and form part of the team preparing the plan. This person should be identified as early as possible so that he/she will be exposed to training and can establish a rapport with the plan implementation team.
12.8 IN COUNTRY REVIEW
It is recommended that a team should be set up in the country in which projects are to take place to continually monitor projects of this nature. This team should be required to report on a quarterly basis on the progress of the project.
|USAID/OAS Post-Georges Disaster Mitigation: http://www.oas.org/pgdm||
Page last updated on 03 Oct 2001