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Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Jeremy Collymore, says he welcomes the new name, as well as the focus of the agency on disaster management in the region.
“We are a new organisation reflecting a commitment and recognition, by the Governments of the Caribbean, that we can no longer sit idly by while our economies suffer the hemorrhage of disaster-impacting events, and our people suffer the repeated dislocation,” Mr. Collymore said.
He was speaking at a Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Half Way Tree Road, Kingston, Tuesday (September 22).
Mr. Collymore said that the countries of the region realise that there is a strong link between disaster and development.
“It is within that context that the decision was taken to review the mandate, functions and structures of the agency,” he said.
He added that there was a commitment to recognise that disasters are strongly linked to development and, in that context, the decision was taken to review the mandate, functions and structure of the agency, to better address issues about the nature of regional development and the hazards associated with it.
The former Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) formally became the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) on September 1. This followed months of planning, which led to an organisational transition and a shift in focus from disaster preparedness and response to comprehensive disaster management.
The primary evidence of the transition is reflected in the organisation’s structure and mandate, which have been widened to include the adoption of disaster loss reduction and mitigation policies and practices, at the national and regional level, as well as co-operative arrangements and mechanisms to facilitate the development of a culture of disaster loss reduction.
Along with the shift in mandate, the new agency’s governance structure is also to be amended, said Mr. Collymore.
CDEMA will be governed by a Council constituting the Heads of the participating States, or their designate, but will be strengthened through the establishment of a Management Committee of Council (MCC).
The technical platform of the agency will be enhanced through the involvement of specialised regional institutions in the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which will provide diversified expertise in a variety of areas related to the science and policy of disaster management.
CDEMA will function with an increased membership of 18, with participating states including Haiti and Suriname, which recently signed on to the agreement.

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