JIS News

Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Ronald Jackson, has underscored the importance of establishing partnerships and building synergies among stakeholders, in the effort to strengthen Jamaica’s disaster management programme.
Speaking at a workshop on ‘Strengthening Partnerships for Disaster Risk Reduction’ at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in Kingston on Wednesday (Aug. 12), Mr. Jackson said that, as a nation, Jamaica can “boast many successes” in terms of national disaster management, but there was need to intensify efforts in some areas.
“There are still significant challenges to our framework, and that has been occasioned by our experiences from (hurricanes) Ivan, Dean, Dennis, Emily, (and) Wilma. Fortunately, we have not had any major earthquakes to test our mechanisms and structures,” he said.
He noted that from as far back as 2004, the ODPEM recognised that there was “an urgent need for us to look structurally, strategically, (and) holistically at the programme, and to make the necessary reviews and changes to strengthen the framework and the mechanisms.”
Mr. Jackson said that ODPEM has a comprehensive disaster management framework in place and in its 29-year existence, the organisation has always sought to promote disaster management and risk reduction, build partnerships and engage stakeholders at the Government, sector, and community levels.
The workshop, he said, was in keeping with those efforts to build partnerships and engage stakeholders in discussion on their roles and responsibilities in Jamaica’s disaster management framework, and identify measures to strengthen the working relationships.
The forum formed part of the ODPEM/Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) project for Building Disaster Resilient Communities (BDRC), the overall objective of which is to support the greater civic responsibility and action to reduce the impact and risks posed by disasters in Jamaica.
“So what we are deliberately doing is building on the successes of the past, identifying the gaps, and seeking to strengthen those. Disaster management is not just an ODPEM business. We have to build the synergies, we have to identify our individual stakes in the process, and then identify our stake in the complementary whole,” Mr. Jackson emphasised.

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