TERMS OF REFERENCE
1. Background and justification
The damages caused by the effects of natural disasters in the Caribbean places additional pressures on the prevailing social and economic
conditions of the countries affected which could eventually dampen short-term growth prospects and undermine the development gains.
When a disaster occurs, national-emergency bodies are generally in charge of assessing humanitarian needs during the emergency stage, with
support from the United Nations System and other public and private international organizations. It is now standard practice for the affected
community or country to take the most essential steps to meet humanitarian requirements arising from the emergency. In addition, friendly countries
and international organizations either directly or through non-governmental organizations promptly provide additional assistance as needed. Both
public and private agents take part in this effort, along with many local, regional and international non-governmental or social assistance
Reconstruction of damaged or destroyed assets, however, normally requires resources well beyond those available during the emergency or
humanitarian assistance stage or otherwise within reach of the affected country. As a result, reconstruction is often undertaken without vulnerability
reduction. To put it bluntly, vulnerability is reconstructed instead of being reduced.
To avoid this, immediately after the emergency stage, an assessment must be made of the direct and indirect effects of the event and their
consequences on the social well-being and economic performance of the affected country or area. This assessment need not entail the utmost
quantitative precision, but it must be comprehensive in that it covers the complete range of effects and their cross-implications for economic and
social sectors, physical infrastructure and environmental assets. With such estimates in hand, it is possible to determine the extent of reconstruction
requirements, which is an urgent task since those affected cannot wait long under the conditions prevailing after a disaster occurs. Such an exercise
is indispensable for identifying and undertaking reconstruction programme and projects, many of which will require the international community’s
financial and technical cooperation.
Based on special disaster-assessment endeavours in the region since the early 1970s, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America
and the Caribbean (UNECLAC) developed an assessment methodology that further broadened and developed the concepts outline by UNDRO a
The consequences of such disasters pose the need for a rapid assessment of the damage (impact on assets) and losses (effects on economic and
social flows) to determine its macroeconomic, social and environmental consequences and its implications for the country’s fiscal stance.
The UNECLAC Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean as part of its commitment to Caribbean development provides social policy advice and
technical assistance to Caribbean government. As part of its operational activities it undertakes the assessment of the socio economic impacts of
natural disasters. Training in the methodology forms a central part of the UNECLAC activities.
The UNECLAC Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean will deliver, with a team of experts and specifically recruited consultants, a multi-sector,
integrated damage and loss training in the area of the UNECLAC methodology to the selected group of national level personnel.
The team will comprise two staff members from the UNECLAC Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean; Asha Kambon and Michael Hendrickson;
Lancelot Busby (a tourism, commerce and services specialist); Dr. Vincent Little (an agricultural specialist) and Dr. David Smith (an infrastructure,
coastal and environment specialist) who will be assisting in the exercise.