The Environment Agency of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment (CITMA) of Cuba, the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands have joined forces in the search for integrated solutions and technology transfers that can be implemented without major investments to reduce flood risks along Havana’s coastline, focusing on the Historic Centre’s Malecón.
The workshop, which was held in Havana, Cuba on 12-13 February, was the result of this joint effort. The event forms part of the activities commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Villa de San Cristóbal de La Habana.
During the workshop, specialists from CITMA, the Master Plan of the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana and the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources provided ample information on the implementation of the State Plan to Address Climate Change of the Republic of Cuba (Tarea Vida).
Furthermore, the event was an opportunity to share experiences with the Dutch institutions participating in the workshop, as in the case of the Dutch Risk Reduction (DDR) team, who offered recommendations on disaster risk reduction made after their visit to Cuba last July, sponsored by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Likewise, the Dutch Institute for Water Education (IHE) shared the study conducted to address flood risk in the Historic Centre of Havana, financed by the UNESCO/Netherlands Funds-in-Trust at the World Heritage Centre.
Another decisive factor turned out to be the participatory exercises on the five fundamental guidelines for identifying the measures to be taken, namely: measures aimed at designing integrated solutions to guarantee drainage and at implementing short-term low-cost projects in Havana’s coastal area; capacity building and technology transfer in order to model scenarios in case of flooding and risk assessment; prioritizing climate change adaptation and vulnerability reduction measures; integration of engineering and natural solutions in sectoral and territorial development plans; and efficient inter-institutional coordination and communication.
Worthy of note were the coincidence and consensus existing among the institutions that take part in the protection of Havana’s Malecón on the actions to be prioritized to prevent floods, not only in the area of the Historic Centre, but also along the capital’s coastline. In particular, the need to strengthen the coordination between them in order to achieve an effective integrated approach was laid in evidence.