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Caribbean Focusing on Resilience at CDM10 Conference
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Nassau, Bahamas, December 4th, 2017 (NEMA) – The 10th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management opened just days after the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season ended, with stark reminders of how vulnerable the region is to catastrophic disasters.

The Hurricane Season ended on November 30, with countries in the region still recovering from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which tore at the very fabric of economies, communities and the environment.

The Conference is held under the theme: “CDM: The Road to Resilience Check Point 2017 – Building Resilience through Partnerships,” at Meliá Nassau Beach resort, December 4-9, 2017. It is facilitated by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the involvement of its 18 Participating States.

Participants in attendance are from: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands and the Virgin Islands.

Participating in the Opening Ceremony were the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Band, Bishop Delton Fernander, President, Bahamas Christian Council, and Jahmal Grant of the National Dance School of The Bahamas.

Observers at the Conference are disaster management practitioners from Latin America, Caribbean States, the Pacific, and international partners.

Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas in his keynote address, said that small-island developing states in the region are at great risk of climate change, and “we must develop new mindsets and protocols in this era of super storms.”

He thanked the various ministries of the government, the staff of NEMA, CDEMA Coordinating Unit, private sector partners, the media, and all the other agencies working to ensure the success of the conference.

Captain Stephen Russell, Director of NEMA, noted the timing of the conference in the wake of major hurricanes: “We meet here in Nassau, at a time when the region is recovering from major, catastrophic storms namely Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which caused unprecedented destruction to The Commonwealth of Dominica, Ragged Island in The Bahamas, and also The Turks and Caicos Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, The British Virgin Islands, and elsewhere in the region,” he said.

This conference, he continued, stands as the keystone for the region’s thrust to building disaster resilient communities.

“This year, the theme, “CDM: The Road to Resilience Check Point 2017 -- Building Resilience through Partnerships,” means we must be cognizant of the fact that as a region of Small Island Developing States we need the support of each other, especially during vulnerable times,” Capt Russell said.

He also noted the Youth Session in the context of the conference and said that the future of region is its young people.

“We must continue to encourage our young people in becoming disaster aware. I note that their sessions will focus on the role of Adolescents in Disaster Mitigation and Resilient Communities, Strengthened Livelihoods and Partnerships.”

Executive Director of CDEMA, Ronald Jackson said that this year represented a key milestone for the CDM Agenda and “sends a clear signal that the CDM Community remains committed to the agenda despite the numerous challenges we have faced along the way.”

The Conference will focus on topics such as: The Recommitment to Regional Integration for Disaster Risk Management and the CDM Agenda; Institutional Strengthening; National Level Experiences, Perspectives and Lessons Learned from Hurricanes Irma and Maria; Building Knowledge and Capacity, among other issues. The Youth Debate will focus on the role of adolescents in disaster mitigation.

Captain Stephen Russell, Director of the National Emergency Management Agency presenting on: “In the Eye of the Storm - National Level Experiences, Perspectives and Lessons Learned from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.” at the 10th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management.  (BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham) Ronald Jackson, Executive Director, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency at the 10th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management, at Meliá Nassau Beach resort.   (BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham)
Captain Stephen Russell, Director of the National Emergency Management Agency; the Hon. Samantha Marshall, Minister of Social Transformation and Human Resource Development, Antigua and Barbuda, and Ronald Jackson, Executive Director, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency at The 10th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management, at Meliá Nassau Beach resort, Monday, December 4, 2017.   (BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham)

Representatives and participants of the 18 Participating States at the 10th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management, at Meliá Nassau Beach resort, December 4, 2017.  (BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham)

 

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