JIS News

Several top officials and environmentalists from countries in the wider Caribbean region are currently participating in a five-day conference at the Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay, to review the achievements of the Caribbean Environment Programme, and to approve the plan of activities for the upcoming year.
Special Advisor to the conference, Franklin McDonald, former Chief Executive Officer of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), told JIS News that the deliberations were critical, as they were being held against the background of the devastation caused by hurricanes across the Caribbean countries.
“In light of the recent disaster events, we have to address the whole matter of disasters and climate change, and whether we are doing enough in the region to sensitize the public, and what other means and methods need to be undertaken to ensure that a region which has seen this level of disaster and hurricane impact, build more robust and resilient societies to cope with these effects and to protect the natural resource base on which we depend for most of our livelihood,” Mr. McDonald explained.
He observed that Jamaica’s ability to rebound so quickly after the hurricane was testimony to its readiness, adding that the country could be a proud example in the region and to the five-day environmental meeting now being held, of a country that had been forced to take disaster management seriously.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn, in his address at the conference, noted that on any agenda and in any regional discussions, natural and regional disasters should take top priority.
“I believe that it is extremely important for us, whether we are in government, in an agency, or in an organization, to be able to consistently and properly communicate as best as we can to the population, for them to understand the importance of what we are trying to do . we need also to be guided by simplicity in conducting and conveying information to the wider population,” the State Minister said.
He observed that one of the many lessons learnt during the periods of disaster across the region, was that agencies must begin to enforce the law and the regulations so that all citizens were better prepared to face such disasters.
“I must congratulate the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Regional Co-ordinating Unit, for their promotion of the need for inter-governmental dialogue on the protection of the environment in all regions, and for their active support of our governments in the management and development of our coastal and marine resources, as part of their Regional Seas Programme,” Mr. Franklyn said.
This 11th Intergovernmental Meeting on the action plan for the Caribbean Environmental Programme, and the 8th Meeting of the contracting parties to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the wider Caribbean Region, will end on Saturday, October 2.