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Esteemed colleagues, it is my privilege to offer remarks at this 2015 European Union Climate Diplomacy Day Event which seeks to highlight the efforts of the EU in international climate negotiations, and its actions on mitigation and adaptation of climate change.

CDEMA is pleased to partner with the EU Delegation in Barbados and the OECS on this event as we have had a long partnership with the EU in enhancing the resilience of the Caribbean region to disaster risks.

As I am sure we are all now aware, global climate change is affecting the profile of emergency events being experienced in the Caribbean region. There is already evidence that climate change is exacerbating the impacts of hydro-meteorological hazards on the region. The Caribbean Development Bank reports that hurricanes, tropical storms, local storms and flooding have resulted in an estimated economic loss of US$38 billion to the Caribbean region for the period 2010-2012 and in impact on over 15 million people. A closer look at the evidence for the period 2000 to 2010 may reveal even more startling figures.

Of course, there are other human factors in play which are influencing our vulnerability such as increasing urbanization, changing societal dynamics and community structures. Thus, we clearly recognise an inextricable linkage between the climate change adaptation and disaster risk management agendas as well as the need to have efforts to address these mainstreamed into the development planning process.

The seriousness of this threat to sustainable development of the countries in the region requires us to ensure that our focus goes beyond energy security, sustainability and clean development but preferably towards a balance between those efforts and preparedness for response and disaster risk reduction and adaptation. More importantly our actions on the road to Paris and beyond need to be integrated and coordinated in order to build synergies and ensure effectiveness of our efforts towards national and regional resilience building.

Since 2008 and with the support of the Austrian Development Agency, CDEMA has been implementing the Mainstreaming Climate Change in Disaster Management Project. Phase I which concluded in 2011, developed tools and products for supporting the enhancement of resilience at the national and community levels. These are being rolled out in the second phase which will conclude in September of this year. Additionally, in 2010, CDEMA established the Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction, Environment SubCommittee of the CDEMA Technical Advisory Committee to engage with the CDEMA Coordinating Unit (CU), and with national and regional level stakeholders to consider opportunities for promoting the integration of CCA, DRR and environmental management agenda and also to promote such an agenda within national and regional development policy and programming.

We in the CDEMA system are therefore fully committed to the advancement of climate awareness and the need for all segments of the society to participate in taking responsible action to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. In fact, the 2014-2024 Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Strategy promotes as central tenets the nexus between disaster risk management and climate change adaptation, the need for increased risk awareness, and the participation of all stakeholders. This Strategy is led by CDEMA, but has been developed in collaboration with regional partners and has been accepted at the level of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community as the blueprint for guiding disaster risk management interventions in the region over the implementation period and is promoted as the vehicle for implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR.

Over the years, the EU has financially supported a number of initiatives under the 9th and 10th European Development Fund which contributed to the strengthening of the institutional capacity of the CDEMA Coordinating Unit, as well as of the National Disaster Management Offices to deliver on the implementation of CDM. These initiatives also have also advanced the capacity of the CDEMA system to respond to an affected country in the event of an emergency.

The EU continues to support CDM implementation through the 10th EDF Intra-ACP Cooperation Strategy under which 20 million Euros has been granted to the CARIFORUM region for initiatives focusing on disaster mitigation and resilience building through the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Secretariat. The Programme is being jointly implemented by CDEMA, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Dominican Republic.

In this constrained economic environment, this type of support is vital to CDEMA and other regional agencies and organizations, as we seek to fortify our countries in the region against disaster risks. We therefore wish to congratulate the EU on its efforts in the region and around the world, and to encourage its continued alignment with regional partners in support of the implementation of the regional CDM Strategy, as well as the Implementation Plan for the Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change which has been developed by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.

I look forward to participation in this informative Climate Diplomacy Open Day.

Thank you.

Ronald Jackson
Executive Director
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)
Resilience Way
Lower Estate, St. Michael
Barbados
Tel: (246) 434-4880; Fax: (246) 271-3660
E-mail: [email protected]

 

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