US Ambassador and Mayor of the National District sign agreement to increase the City’s resilience to Climate Change

Santo Domingo – U.S. Ambassador, James Brewster, and the Mayor of the National District, Roberto Salcedo, signed a memorandum of understanding to increase the resilience of the city’s infrastructure to climate change. The technical assistance is estimated at US$ 600,000 covering a one year period.

The city of Santo Domingo is one of only five cities in the world selected to participate in the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Climate Resilient Infrastructure Services (CRIS) project. The aim is to increase resiliency of the National District’s infrastructure services (e.g. transportation, water, sanitation and waste management, energy, communications, and housing) to climate change. Other cities selected include Piura, Peru; Nacala, Mozambique; Hue, Vietnam; and Trujillo, Peru.  One of the program’s main objectives is to help ensure the long-term sustainability of infrastructure investments and the critical services they provide.

The National District’s City Council (Ayuntamiento del Distrito Nacional) has partnered with the Water and Sanitation Corporation of Santo Domingo (CAASD), the National Meteorology Office (ONAMET), the Office of Territorial Planning (DGODT), the Dominican Institute for Integral Development (IDDI) and the Dominican Federation of Municipalities (FEDOMU), among others, to create a working group and identify priority services to focus on for this pilot program.

Initially, the program will concentrate on addressing impacts of climate change on the existing and planned sanitation systems within Ward 3 of the District. Ward 3 has the greatest  concentration of people in the country, lacks formal infrastructure services for its population density, and is at great risk of flooding, landslides, erosion, and other weather related impacts that will only get worst with climate change.

The National District’s City Hall and USAID pilot program’s main goal is to provide the foundation and necessary technical support to key partners so they can establish a sustained inter-governmental working group, gather climate information (with ONAMET’s help), learn how to conduct vulnerability screenings for infrastructure projects, and develop a plan for adapting critical water and sanitation infrastructure in this sector.

Additionally, with the support of IDDI and FEDOMU, the project will also directly involve the citizens of Ward 3 through community trainings on climate change adaptation and direct participation in the implementation of the project’s work plan.