Dominican Republic

Active Projects: 2

GDP (current US$): 71.58 billion (2016)

Population: 10.64 million (2016)

Major Partners

African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme, U.S. Agency for International Development, World Bank

INFORM Risk Rating: 3.9

Risk data from INFORM, a global open-source risk assessment for humanitarian crises and disasters, uses a scale from 0-10, with 10 as the highest level of risk.

Primary Hazards

For additional information on the natural hazard risk profile, visit ThinkHazard.

Context

Natural Hazard Risk

The Dominican Republic is considered a hotspot for natural disasters. The country is exposed to droughts, earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes, landslides, temperature extremes (heat waves), tropical storms, and tsunamis. From 1980 to 2008, 40 natural disasters affected 2.65 million people, almost a quarter of the country’s population.

Land degradation, rapid and unplanned urbanization since the 1960s, and weak enforcement of building codes and zoning regulations are the main drivers of vulnerability. The country’s debt limits available resources to recover from disasters and to provide social protection. And, the scientific community is concerned the Septentrional Fault, along the country’s northern coast, is overdue for a large earthquake.

Climate change is expected to increase the risk and intensity of excess rainfall, storm surges, and hurricanes in the Caribbean, with relatively higher impacts in the Dominican Republic. Predicted impacts include flooding in coastal zones and low-lying areas, with potential damages and economic losses projected to reach nearly 17 percent of gross domestic product.

Government Priorities

The Dominican Republic has taken steps to advance disaster risk management (DRM), including developing a comprehensive legal and institutional framework for DRM. The Disaster Risk Management Law of 2002 established the National System for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation, and Response. The National Development Strategy (2010–2030) aims to mainstream climate-change adaptation in development and incorporate DRM criteria in all public policies, programs, and projects. The National Plan for the Reduction of Seismic Risk, approved in 2013, does this through technical guidelines to reduce risk factors associated with seismic hazards. In 2016, a DRM directorate was established in the Ministry of Education to ensure resilient education infrastructure.

To build on its DRM accomplishments, the government’s priorities include:

  • Supporting provinces and municipalities to establish their own Disaster Prevention, Mitigation, and Response Committees and to develop and implement their own emergency and DRM plans; 
  • Integrating DRM criteria into building codes, regulations, and zoning laws to increase the resilience of education and health infrastructure; and,
  • Developing a financial strategy that will support the mitigation of disaster impacts. 
GFDRR progress to date

GFDRR is supporting the Dominican Republic to strengthen the government’s capacity to mainstream DRM. Key areas of focus include: integrating DRM in municipal and territorial planning, building a more resilient solid waste management service, analyzing existing post-disaster financing mechanisms, and identifying risks in order to protect schools.

In 2012, GFDRR supported better integration of DRM into the territorial planning system by developing vulnerability and risk indicators, guidelines, and recommendations for consideration in five pilot municipalities. In 2013, GFDRR supported the Council of Ministers of Finance of Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic to undertake financial assessments of possible risk transfer options and solutions. Building on the findings, in 2016, GFDRR financed through the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program a Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Country Note to help guide a disaster risk financing strategy in the Dominican Republic.  

Further, as part of its fiscal resilience strategy, the government has entered discussions with the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC), determining it a financially beneficial solution due to its ability to provide a cost-effective and fast-disbursing liquidity in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

GFDRR anticipates continued demand from the Government of the Dominican Republic in the following engagements, which are in the early stages:

  • Supporting the preparation of a $100 million Development Policy Loan with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (CAT-DDO), a World Bank disaster risk finance instrument that increases fiscal resilience in the aftermath of a disaster and promotes the implementation of DRM policies;
  • Establishing a National Information System for DRM to manage and share  hazard and risk information;
  • Strengthening the national capacity of the Ministry of Education to fill information gaps in evaluating and mapping critical infrastructure;
  • Developing a tool to quantify economic losses from disasters in various infrastructure sectors; and,
  • Implementing a household survey to collect poverty data in the context of disaster and climate resilience.  

 

Projects Awarded by GFDRR 2007 - Present

Project Description
Identifying Risk to Protect Schools in the Dominican Republic
$638,574 04/2015 - 10/2017

The objective of this project is to strengthening the national capacity of the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Education and National Emergency Commission in risk assessment and mapping of critical public school infrastructure facilities, thus informing national resilience building. Technical assistance will be implemented by the World Bank in partnership with a non-governmental organization (NGO) consortium consisting of Plan, Oxfam and Habitat for Humanity, with a focus on strengthening the evaluation of disaster risk of public schools using a “School Safety Index” (SSI). Activities will build on and scale up an existing pilot project financed by the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) Disaster Preparedness Program to strengthen government capacity in disaster risk assessment and emergency information management.

Supporting DRM Policy Dialogue and Preparation of the CAT-DDO in the Dominican Republic
$150,000 04/2016 - 08/2017

This project aims to support initial policy dialogue with the Government of the Dominican Republic in: (i) identifying policy areas and sectors where the government has made progress in strengthening its national DRM program; (ii) facilitating continued policy dialogue with the Ministry of Finance in articulating a $100 Million development policy loan with a catastrophe deferred drawdown option (CAT DDO) from the World Bank; and (iii) generating analytical work to deepen understanding of disaster risk in the country and inform 2016 Policy Notes for the new administration and the upcoming Systematic Country Diagnostic. A key output to inform policy dialogue will be a Country Disaster Risk Profile (CDRP) for earthquakes and hurricanes that quantifies potential financial losses (direct and indirect) associated with disasters. This will allow the Ministry of Finance to start building a foundation to improve its fiscal management of disasters as part of its overall financial risk management strategy.

World Bank Engagements 2012 – Present

Project Description
DO AF to Emergency Recovery & Disaster Management $20 million | Start date: 2012-4 (Closed)

The project development objectives are to: restore and strengthen priority irrigation, electricity, water and sanitation infrastructure damaged by tropical storms Olga and Noel or at risk of damage from future storms; and strengthen the capacity for disaster risk management of the Instituto Nacional de Recursos Hidraulicos - National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INDRHI) and the Corporacion Dominicana de Empresas Electricas Estatales - Dominican Corporation of State Electrical Companies (CDEEE).

Dominican Republic DRM Development Policy Loan with a Cat DDO $150 million | Start date: 2017-9 (Ongoing )

The development objective of the proposed operation is to support the Government of the Dominican Republic in (a) strengthening institutions for improved climate and disaster resilience in priority sectors and (b) establishing mandatory regulations for climate and disaster risk reduction in public investment and construction works.