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Enhancing disaster preparedness and response for Caribbean media: UNESCO teams up with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union

UNESCO and the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) join forces to strengthen media resilience to disasters in the Caribbean, a region heavily impacted by climate change and environmental disasters.

In a significant move to bolster disaster preparedness and response in the Caribbean, UNESCO has partnered with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) to enhance the broadcasting and editorial capacity of media outlets in two Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This initiative is particularly timely as the region faces the devastating impacts of Hurricane Beryl.

Within this partnership, UNESCO provided two sets of robust radio transmitters and antennas to two member broadcasters of CBU in Barbados, and Turks and Caicos. This enabled them to reach a larger population before, during and after climate emergencies, and to restore operations in the event of damage to their existing infrastructure during disasters. CBU will conduct comprehensive training with the beneficiary media, focusing on enhancing institutional strategies and practices on disaster preparedness, utilizing digital tools for news gathering, and improving programming on climate change.

“In the face of climate emergencies and disasters, timely and accurate information can help communities make informed decisions and save lives. Public interest media are an indispensable pillar in this endeavour. UNESCO remains steadfast in its commitment to enhancing disaster resilience and supporting climate change adaptation of Member States in the Caribbean and other regions, by empowering media with the necessary tools and competencies.”

Tawfik Jelassi
Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, UNESCO

CBU President, Dr Claire Grant, emphasized the media’s essential contribution to communities’ disaster resilience, especially in regions most vulnerable to natural hazards like the Caribbean:

“Too often it’s assumed that even in emergencies the media will still be able to operate normally. But as the Caribbean prepares itself for […] increasingly devastating hazards, being able to maintain transmission of the most accessible medium, radio, must be seen as a pillar of preparation, as well as relief and recovery efforts.”

Dr. Claire Grant
President, Caribbean Broadcasting Union

This initiative is part of UNESCO’s broader efforts to support SIDS media in climate action and disaster preparedness. Since 2022, the Organization has assisted media organizations in several SIDS, including the Bahamas, Fiji, Haiti, Marshall Islands, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Timor-Leste, and Tuvalu. In 2024, actions in this area are also underway in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. This new partnership builds on these efforts, reaffirming UNESCO’s commitment to empowering SIDS media as key actors in disaster risk reduction.

Dr Grant encouraged other development and private sector partners to provide tangible support, enhancing disaster preparedness of media in every Caribbean country or territory. CBU will highlight the partnership during its 55th Annual General Assembly, will take place in Placencia, Belize, from 11 to 14 August 2024, under the theme “Media and the Environment”.

Article originally published July 19th, 2024 at

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