COVID-19, Systemic Risk and Education Sector Resilience in the Caribbean Region

Panama City
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction – Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency
Event language(s)

WEBINAR: COVID-19, Systemic Risk and Education Sector Resilience in the Caribbean region


This session provides a snapshot of the Caribbean perspective during COVID 19 crisis taking into account the Hurricane season.


Session Partner:

Safe School Working Group of the Education Sector Sub-Committee of the CDM Coordination and Harmonization Council.


Target Audience:

Policy Makers of CDEMA Participating States, Ministries of Education, National Disaster Coordinators, Multilateral and Bilateral Partners, Youth.


Background and Rationale:

As the Global Assessment Report has highlighted, the Sendai Framework reflects the certainty that in an ever more populous, networked and globalizing society, the very nature and scale of risk has changed, to such a degree that it surpasses established risk management institutions and approaches. Education sectors have been affected by many hazards worldwide. In some cases, due to physical and social vulnerabilities inherent to the systems themselves, the consequences have been catastrophic. The systemic nature of the COVID-19 crisis and its unprecedented cascading effects has impacted all sectors and levels and in all the countries of the Caribbean region. COVID-19 has demonstrated the systemic nature of risk and highlighted the exposure of these systems to all hazards.

Governments in the region are now using the instruments they have available in order to secure school safety and in many cases, the lack of specific preparedness measures to face pandemics has led to improvisation and real-time testing of policies and measures during the crisis. Policies, practices and tools, have been designed, developed, and implemented by national governments and by regional and international inter-governmental agencies.  Nowadays, those instruments have been tested in the Caribbean region, and some gaps and improvements need to be identified in order to secure that these tools include among others biological hazards and guarantee that: 1) students and educators are safe from death, injury, and harm in schools; 2) continuity of education through all expected hazards and threats; 3) risk reduction and resilience are being strengthened through education; and, 4) education sector investments are safeguarded.

Education systems in the Caribbean are now responding to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are also preparing and implementing actions to mitigate the potential consequences of the upcoming hurricane season and other latent hazards, such as earthquakes and tsunamis. As recovery plans and other instruments are being designed by national and regional entities, they present an opportunity to reiterate the value of education in building resilient societies, and the need for multisectoral, multi-stakeholder and regional coordination such us the Caribbean Safe School Initiative. This notably in a context of increasing complexity, interdependence and systemic nature of risk. The webinar aims to discuss these issues while providing a platform for exchange and knowledge.


Session objectives:

  1. Have a clear understanding of the systemic nature of risk.
  2. Provide a snapshot of the regional Caribbean perspective during COVID 19 crisis taking into account the challenges faced by the Hurricane season.
  3. Assess how existing safe school tools can be useful for the current crisis.
  4. Share experiences from the national level on how the education sector is facing the pandemic.
  5. Share practical elements for safe schools in times of COVID-19 from a global perspective.


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