Jamaica Makes Progress in Disaster Management

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott (2nd left), is in light conversation with Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Ronald Jackson (2nd right); Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Dr. Arun Kashyap (right); and Acting Director General, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Richard Thompson. Occasion was the launch of the 8th Annual Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) held on September 4, at the Spanish Court hotel in New Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica continues to work assiduously to build disaster resilient communities
  • Jamaica has begun the process of revising its Disaster Risk Management Policy
  • The CDM conference provides an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the region’s advancement in disaster risk management

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, says Jamaica has made significant strides in disaster management and continues to work assiduously to build disaster resilient communities.

He was speaking on Wednesday, September 4, at the launch of the 8th Annual Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) held at the Spanish Court hotel in New Kingston.

Mr. Arscott informed that as part of efforts to build community resilience, Jamaica has begun the process of revising its Disaster Risk Management Policy to ensure its completeness and to include lessons from past experiences.

Also, the country has made progress in advancing the legislative review, which is expected to be implemented before the next hurricane season.

The Minister also informed that Jamaica is well advanced in sector mainstreaming, adding that the agriculture, tourism, and education sectors have all developed Disaster Risk Management programmes.

“(These programmes) view risk in a more developmental way rather than a matter only for emergency response,” he stated.

Additionally, the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has established a programme to strengthen the role of local authorities in supporting community resilience building and is also working directly with vulnerable communities in an effort to build their resilience to the effects of natural hazards, in particular, climate risks.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Ronald Jackson, said the CDM conference provides an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the region’s advancement in disaster risk management, in particular, the successful innovations in policy and practice of comprehensive disaster management.

“No longer do we have to look further afield to Japan or the United States. We are cultivating those successes here in the Caribbean and we provide a platform for sharing that,” he remarked.

He noted further that the event aims to involve multiple stakeholders in the development of a safe, secure and resilient Caribbean region.

For his part, Acting Director General, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Richard Thompson, informed that this year’s conference will focus on a wide range of topics aimed at advancing dialogue on ways to solve the region’s problems.

The topics for discussion include: public/private partnership towards infrastructural development; disaster risk transfer and risk management; economic and physical development; and social investment and development planning.

Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Dr. Arun Kashyap, remarked that Jamaica and the Caribbean’s commitment to manage natural disasters as a priority, is commendable.

He assured that the United Nations system in Jamaica stands ready to help in strengthening CDM strategies within the framework of resilient and inclusive development and to accelerate progress towards the achievement of Vision 2030.

The Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management is scheduled to take place at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay from December 2 to 6, under the theme: ‘CDM for resilient Development: A Good Investment’.

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