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    • Secretary-General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), Ambassador Dr. June Soomer, believes a more coordinated collective approach to disasters is needed by regional governments.
    • She said this will require ongoing dialogue among heads of governments ahead of the onset of disasters, such as storms and hurricanes, to determine the appropriate responsive actions to countries likely to be impacted.
    • “We do not have to let disasters turn into tragedy, especially in areas where people are cut off,” she said in a JIS News interview at the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Ministry in New Kingston on July 26.

    Secretary-General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), Ambassador Dr. June Soomer, believes a more coordinated collective approach to disasters is needed by regional governments.

    She said this will require ongoing dialogue among heads of governments ahead of the onset of disasters, such as storms and hurricanes, to determine the appropriate responsive actions to countries likely to be impacted.

    “We do not have to let disasters turn into tragedy, especially in areas where people are cut off,” she said in a JIS News interview at the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Ministry in New Kingston on July 26.

    Dr. Soomer cited the need to strengthen communities’ climate resilience, “so that there (is) no (future) loss of life and losses to infrastructure”.

    Jamaica remains a beneficiary of ACS technical cooperation and assistance facilitated through climate change and disaster risk-reduction projects.

    These include the Caribbean Territorial Information Platform for Disaster Prevention Project (PITCA).

    The project is designed to establish a platform that provides territorial, geospatial information from national as well as regional sources, with the aim of reducing vulnerability in the region.

    This is achieved through risk analysis; strengthening of decision making for the development of planning policies; design and infrastructure construction; housing; and the reduction of agriculture vulnerability, among other engagements.

    Jamaica is one of 10 countries that have benefited from the Impact Assessment of Climate Change on the Sandy Shorelines of the Caribbean Project, which aims to improve coastal communities’ resilience to climate change and rising sea levels.

    The project will contribute to the sustainable development of beaches, through the application of more suitable adaptation measures to avoid or minimise the negative impact of human actions.

    Dr. Soomer described the project as “well-designed” and said it is the ACS’s biggest initiative, which will “help countries have solid data to develop policy to protect their coastlines”.

    “It is a comprehensive project and we’re trying to ensure that all our member states benefit,” she added.

    Funding for this project has been provided by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

    It is anticipated that cooperation on the project from scientists within the region will also be achieved.

    Established on July 24, 1994 in Colombia, the ACS seeks to foster concerted dialogue towards increased regional cooperation in the areas of the preservation and sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea, sustainable tourism, trade development and economic external relations.

    It also includes regional transportation and disaster risk reduction towards sustainable development of the greater Caribbean.

    The ACS comprises 25 member states, as well as associate members, observer states, founding observers and 27 other partners.