JIS News

Over 250 delegates from approximately 20 countries and several organizations have registered to participate in the Fifth Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management taking place at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa, Montego Bay.
“We are probably up to about 20 countries, maybe a little bit more, representing the Caribbean region, and I am talking about the wider Caribbean, English, Dutch, French and Spanish speaking Caribbean. We have representation out of Japan, the United States, Canada, Latin America and from the South Pacific (as well),” Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Ronald Jackson, told JIS News.
He disclosed that there were also “a myriad” of organizations represented, covering a wide cross-section of society, which illustrates the nature of comprehensive disaster management and speaks to the involvement of all sectors and people.
The conference, taking place December 6-10, is being held under the theme, “CDM: Strengthening Partnerships for Resilience”. It is The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s (CDEMA) annual signature forum, to review and measure the region’s progress in Comprehensive Disaster Management.
A varied programme with several presenters covering topics to do with disaster management and mitigation, climate change, risk reduction, financial considerations for managing disaster risk, regional partnerships and governance, relief, recovery and reconstruction among others, are up for discussion over the period of the conference.
Delivering the main address at the opening ceremony, Tuesday night (December 7), Prime Minister Bruce Golding underscored the relevance and importance of the conference, highlighting the vulnerability of the Caribbean to natural disasters.
“We know from experience that we, from time to time, suffer significant loss, experience significant damage, because of the effects and consequences of the environmental degradation that we have allowed to take place in many parts of the Caribbean,” he stated.
He noted that the Caribbean is at significant risk which, over the last 30 years, has made itself better prepared and better able to manage disasters and, as such, must take credit for that achievement. He also expressed the view that much more needs to be done while, at the same time, underscoring the collaborative efforts between countries of the region.
Describing the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) as “one of the most significant developments to have taken place in recent years in the region”, Mr. Golding commended the operations of the (CCRIF), adding that he is pleased with the speed at which that organization has been responding to needs within the region.
“I really am pleased with the speed with which CCRIF has been able to respond to those cases – Haiti, Anguilla, and the Eastern Caribbean countries – that were battered by Tomas,” he stated. He however pointed to a broader policy approach to relief assistance that has to be pursued on the international stage.