JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Hazard mitigation planning and disaster management is a priority for the country’s growth agenda.
  • Between 2002 and 2007 Jamaica experienced six storm events and several floods resulting in a combined loss of about 3.2% of GDP.
  • The Minister outlined a number of steps to be taken to make cities in Jamaica more resilient to natural disaster.

New York: – Jamaica’s Minister of Local Government and Community development, the Hon. Noel Arscott, told a United Nations conference that hazard mitigation planning and disaster management is a priority for the country’s growth agenda.

Speaking at a conference on “Sustainable Cities Days” at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Thursday, December 12, the Minister pointed out that between 2002 and 2007 Jamaica experienced six storm events and several floods resulting in a combined loss to the Jamaican economy of $70.72 billion or about 3.2% of gross domestic product.

He said that strategies being pursued under a National Development Plan known as ‘Vision 2030” include, improved resilience to all forms of hazards; improved emergency response capability; measures to adapt to climate change and efforts to reduce the global rate of climate change.

“A multi-disciplinary approach to disaster management is therefore promoted, thereby enhancing efforts to build resilience of cities,” he said, pointing out that goal # 3 under the Urban and Regional Planning Sector Plan is to have livable, equitable and ecologically sensitive communities by planning for safer and fairer communities.

The Minister said that Jamaica is presently aggressively pursuing the promulgation of some legislative instruments to support resilience in cities towards risk reduction to natural hazards.

These, he said, include the National Disaster Bill and the National Building Bill. He said these bills are intended to strengthen the built environment to secure safe buildings and building zones island-wide and to create the legislative frame-work to support the National Building Code.

“The National Disaster Bill will dramatically strengthen resilience of cities also by addressing a national disaster fund which is important to cities’ recovery efforts,” said Minister Arscott.

Going forward, the Minister outlined a number of steps to be taken to make cities in Jamaica more resilient to natural disaster:

These include, among others:

Ensuring that new developments through their location and design are resilient to the consequences of climate change;

Ensuring the integration of hazard mapping in the planning process;

Approved legislative framework to support resilient cities

Continued application of the Hyogo Framework and implementation of recommendations from local authorities;

Strengthened regional cooperation and knowledge sharing;

Application of research, science and technology by local governments to strengthen city resilience to natural hazards;

Improved linkages to land use planning, local economic development initiatives and risk reduction strategies to build resilience to social, economic and natural challenges.

The three–day conference ended Friday.