Disaster and Climate Risk Assessment for PITAG: Regions in Haiti
Background and Purpose of this study
With more than 90% of its population exposed to natural disasters, Haiti is an extremely vulnerable country. In January 2017, Haiti was ranked as the 10th most vulnerable country in the world to natural disasters by the Index for Risk Management 2017 (InfoRM 2018). Haiti's relatively low capacity to invest in emergency preparedness and to respond to disasters exacerbates this situation. Thus, Haiti’s resilience or ability to cope and recover from natural disasters is considered very low.
The Multi-Hazard Average Annual Loss is estimated at 250 billion to 300 globally, with an unusual increase between 2005 and 2014 (UNISDR 2015). Statistics on the country level reveal that Haiti ranks on the fifth position at Multi-Hazard risks, with 93.4 percent of total area at risks and 96.5 percent of the population in areas at risk (WorldBank 2005).
Soil erosion and deforestation are endemic in Haiti, although, sources about remaining forested areas in Haiti show different classifications. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), only 4% of Haiti’s total area is a forest (FAO 2010), other studies show forested areas in Haiti between 19.5% and 32.4% (Churches et al. 2014). Only 20% of Haiti’s land cover is arable land, but 50% is currently under agricultural production, forcing many farmers into areas with low soil capacity for agriculture. Haiti has been dependent on the export of cash crops and timber since the colonial time. Subsistence agriculture is carried out on marginal slope land, and growing urbanization has added pressure on land use.
The southern peninsula of Haiti sees more frequent hurricanes than the rest of the country, and this is where the soil erosion risk is very high. Furthermore, Grande-Anse, Sud, Nippes, South East are thus the most vulnerable to landslides after hurricanes.
The purpose of this study is to identify and evaluate potential project risks for the Agricultural and Agroforestry Technological Program- PITAG in Haiti, which is managed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNRD); with a particular focus on its component II which includes the promotion of sustainable agricultural technologies in the areas shown in Figure 1. Within the pre-project phase of PITAG, different crops and technological packages have been prioritized based on their importance for Haiti, the socio-economic relevance of its population and their potential for environmental sustainability. The primary goal now is to promote and finance the adoption of climatesmart and sustainable agricultural technologies in the PITAG program, which improve farm profitability, generate positive outcomes for the environment, and facilitate the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.
However, a complete disaster and climate risk assessments are missing, and several pitfalls could weaken the desired outcomes of component II in the PITAG program. Thus, the promotion of technological packages for crops in geographical areas, especially where climate risks are too high for sustainable development of the technological package in the future, provides not always the best adaptation pathway for farmers to cope with climate risks. Areas with a expected high impact-gradient from climate change and variability, require transformational actions for farmers (diversification options, change of livelihood system).