It is a fact. The effects of climate change they are more noticeable. So far in 2023, Dominicans have witnessed several tremors, if we limit ourselves to the national territory.
More recently, forest fires have captured the attention and if you look at 2022, in terms of weather events, there is Hurricane Fiona or the rains that flooded the capital of the Dominican Republic.
Against this background, the environmental risks represent a challenge for the Dominican Republic, and its entire economy. Although the impact of these atmospheric phenomena cannot be predicted, risk specialist César A. Rodríguez explains that scientific evidence shows that hurricanes will be more consecutive while droughts will be more frequent. “We have forest fires that we didn’t have before,” he added.
According to the Ministry of the Environment and the Emergency Operations Center (COE), Dominican Republic registered until Friday, March 31, 14 active forest fires. A day earlier they had reported 12. According to a Economist Intelligence report, Droughts are increasingly common, and the Dominican Republic is among the countries with the highest risk of facing this climatic phenomenon in 2023.
Even that meteorological event that affects the country every season from November to mid-April of the following year, could extend beyond the established period. “Although we have intelligence in managing these long-term risks, I would start making investments today to prepare for the future,” warns the risk management expert.
Despite the fact that this is a reality that companies are currently facing, preparation to avoid major losses due to inoperability should be the priority. However, they do not appear to be conscious, according to the risk specialist.
“Who provides the resources is the financial area. However, his main concern is more about ‘making profit for the year’, that is, the short-term result”, adds Rodríguez.
According to the specialist, those responsible for making investments that prepare companies for damage caused by atmospheric phenomena are not taking the necessary measures.
“When you go to an organization and talk about these environmental issues, they still don’t understand how climate change is affecting it beyond the losses that it may have specific that year due to the effect of a flood,” he says.
For the senior risk executive at Marsh Advisory Leader, if these situations today are seen as a specific issue and investments are not made to prevent them from impacting business operations in the future, the cost will be higher. “I’m not going to be able to change what happens in the future, but I’m not adapting,” he adds.
Both globally and locally, natural disasters caused by extreme weather events represent one of the main short- and long-term problems, according to the 2023 Global Risks report from the World Economic Forum. Faced with this reality, the specialist analyzes that any manager has to combat both scenarios. “You have to live in the present, but plan for the future,” he says.
With this report, in which the executive’s company participated, he explains that they seek to raise awareness and prepare people. “When I speak people I mean governments, companies, civil society. That we recognize that these situations that are occurring are going to be happening ”, he adds, while explaining that dealing with these problems requires an integration of all fronts.
State and companies
Governments change, and for Rodríguez there should be a genuine concern for the country, “beyond governments”. He indicates that the same thing happens in companies. “Today’s financier will not be in the future.” In the case of the Dominican Republic, as a nation, he regrets that there is still not a high level of awareness about the impacts of the effects of climate change.
“They don’t live it until it happens to them. For example, the subject of the forest fire did not happen, you did not worry about it. Now yes”, because it can affect the nation. That is why he proposes that the first step is to recognize that these risks are present in everyday life.
The second thing is that civil society, the government and companies have to contribute from their perspectives to power. “Visualize them and define the necessary strategies,” he says. They must have as axes to create awareness and the execution of the norms, laws and education at home.
Regarding the regulation, he clarified that it is not about the law, but the verification of its compliance. “If compliance with the regulation is not required, that is where the employer also has to start playing an important role.”
Regarding the Dominican Republic, he explained that, although there are environmental management plans and there are “many” laws, they are not complied with. “The problem is that, that we do not demand compliance with the regulation.”
During VIII Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean-PR23, the Government promised to incorporate disaster risk management and climate change into planning, public investment.