By Josephine Justin
This past May, I started working with the Southeast and Caribbean Disaster Resilience Partnership (SCDRP) as a Program Coordinator. The SCDRP is a coalition of public and private organizations that collectively seeks to strengthen the resilience of communities to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of natural hazards and climate change. SCDRP is the broadest regional collaborative network for professionals in emergency management, climate adaptation, disaster preparedness, recovery, and resilience in the U.S. Southeast and the Caribbean.
This was a position that piqued my interest because of my passion for urban planning and communication. I’ve always enjoyed doing creative work and creating content as well as event planning. In the past, I was able to work in positions that allowed me to plan conferences and learn graphic design. But working with SCDRP has been a unique opportunity for me to apply these interests of mine to disaster resilience. Through this partnership, I have met many inspiring professionals in the field and have been able to envision the type of career I want to pursue after graduate school.
Over the past couple of years, our network has evolved into a cross-sectoral, regional forum for resilience professionals from the public, private, and non-government sectors. SCDRP provides a forum to build relationships and deepen communities’ resilience capacity through targeted regional coordination events, outreach to and engagement with government officials and businesses, support for public policy research, and hosting an annual regional convening.
The partnership was originally named the Southeast Disaster Recovery Partnership. It was awarded a 2016 Coastal Resilience Grant that funded projects in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. In January 2019, the partnership wanted to bring the value of the network to Caribbean territories and continue sharing lessons learned. It also changed the “R” in its title from “Recovery” to “Resilience” and became the Southeast and Caribbean Disaster Resilience Partnership.
SCDRP is an affiliate program of the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA). SECOORA’s region spans the coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. SECOORA’s mission is to observe, understand, and increase awareness of our coastal ocean; promoting knowledge, economic and environmental health through strong regional partnerships. Together, SCDRP and SECOORA work in tandem to increase community engagement throughout the Southeast and Caribbean.
The scale of disasters and climate-related impacts faced in the U.S. Southeast and Caribbean territories and nations require vested interests to protect and transform high-risk communities. SCDRP’s efforts reflect a deep commitment to collaboration across sectors to strengthen the region’s capacity to address common issues resulting from disaster and climate impacts.
Leveraging the SCDRP’s network of resilience, recovery, and adaptation professionals, the Partnership is expanding the monthly webinar to Caribbean countries, directly engaging Caribbean participants, and arranging featured speakers from Caribbean nations to enhance peer-to-peer learning opportunities across the region and internationally. This work will continue to help maintain networks of experts in the United States and the greater Caribbean. This initiative will facilitate information-sharing about successful disaster preparedness, adaptation, and resilience projects throughout the four U.S. Southeast States, two U.S. Caribbean territories, and multiple Caribbean nations.
Our current members range from those who focus on response and recovery planning to those who are interested in long-term climate adaptation. By convening an extensive and growing network of professionals from the public and private sectors who focus on building resilience in the Southeast and Caribbean region, the SCDRP has the potential to serve as the primary resource for knowledge, information, and best practices in resilience and climate adaptation.
We host virtual monthly partnership meetings on the fourth Thursday of every month at 10 am EST, where we hear from guest speakers and share resources. During our August meeting, we heard from Dr. Greg Guannel about the work of the Caribbean Green Technology Center (CGTC) in the U.S. Virgin Islands (https://youtu.be/4maZ3iJT948). We also host annual working meetings focused on the exchange of recovery and resilience information. Our 2023 Annual Meeting will take place in Miami, Florida on January 24th and 25th. All are welcome to attend, including students! This is a great opportunity to meet other professionals in the disaster resilience field.
If you’d like to learn more and join our future meetings, check out our website: scdrp.secoora.org.
Josephine Jeni Justin is a second year Masters of City and Regional Planning student at UNC Chapel Hill. She is pursuing a Natural Hazards Resilience certificate and is specializing in land use and environmental planning and transportation planning. Currently, she is working with the Southeast and Disaster Resilience Partnership (SCDRP) as a Program Coordinator and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) as an Innovation Team intern. She completed her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Communication Studies at UNC Charlotte. Before starting her master’s program, she worked with the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and as an AmeriCorps California Climate Action Corps Fellow with the City of Los Angeles’ Climate Emergency Mobilization Office (CEMO). Josephine is passionate about pursuing a career at the intersection of community engagement, environmental justice, and storytelling.
Edited by Jo Kwon & Lance Gloss
Featured Image by Ashley Satanosky