CDEMA assisting in building resilient communities in the region

Nassau, Bahamas, March 18, 2013 (NEMA) - The purpose of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA, is to assist Participating States, of which The Bahamas is a member, in building resilient communities to deal with any disaster that might occur.

This message was relayed by Lyndon Robertson, project coordinator of the Climate Smarting Comprehensive Disaster Management Country Workshop facilitated by CDEMA and hosted by the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA slated for September 23 to 27, 2013.


Purpose of the workshop is for The Bahamas to develop a strategic country work programme for comprehensive disaster management, that is climate smart and gender-sensitive, amongst other things. The workshop is to also identify peculiar needs of The Bahamas for achieving Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) and to determine what concrete changes are needed to address these needs.

“CDEMA’s intention is to build resilient communities within our Participating States. Disaster resilience emphasizes the importance of pre-disaster mitigation measures that enhance the performance of structures, infrastructure elements, and institutions in reducing losses from a disaster. Resilience reflects a concern for improving the capacity of physical and human system,” Mr. Robertson said.Lyndon Robertson, project coordinator, addressing the Climate Smarting Comprehensive Disaster Management Country Workshop, slated for September 23 to 27, 2013. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA and the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA facilitate the workshop

The Caribbean is well recognized as one of the most disaster prone regions in the world, faced with a variety of natural hazards, including floods and droughts, landslides, storms, earthquakes, and volcanic activity. This is also compounded by threats posed by human induced hazards - fires, oil spills, chemical and biological emergencies, and nuclear accidents which have the same capacity as natural hazards have for precipitating events of such scale as to be called disasters, and adversely affecting our livelihoods, infrastructure, environment, and stability.

“Global climate change may present the greatest threat of all, with the capacity that exists for this phenomenon to exacerbate the impact of particularly the hydro-meteorological extreme weather events,” Mr. Robertson said.

He stressed all hazards, both natural and man-made, must be addressed at all stages of disaster management.

“We are experiencing a global shift towards emphasizing risk reduction centered approaches through mitigation, prevention, and sound recovery planning and implementation. This augments the traditional focus on preparedness and response, which cannot be neglected.”

Mr. Robertson also noted that all members of society have a role to play in ensuring that disaster management is an inherent part of the functioning of their communities, which must be empowered to reduce their individual vulnerability and better cope when affected by hazards.

“Comprehensive Disaster Management requires that we change how we do things. In particular we have to be more strategic and structured in our approach to disaster management.

“Successful achievement of CDM is also retarded by our limited capacities in a number of areas - financial, human resources, inadequate policy and regulatory structures. We need therefore need a sound plan, a road map as it were, for how we are going to overcome our deficiencies to strengthen our management of disasters,” he said.

In 2007 CDEMA adopted the Enhanced CDM Strategy, a refinement of the previous strategy, which had been developed in 2001. The CDM strategy has been developed through broad-based consultation that involved Participating States, public and private sector partners and the international donor community.

Furthermore, CDEMA is preparing a new 10-year regional CDM Strategy, once again with the support and participation of disaster management stakeholders, which is nearing completion and is anticipated, will be launched in the last quarter of 2013.

“If it is important at the regional level, it is critical at the national level. Countries must also create their national road map to guide how they will achieve CDM in the context of their individual and unique situations,” Mr. Robertson said, adding that addressing climate change and Gender Sensitivity are critical crosscutting issues, which must be addressed in all of these institutional arrangements.Participants attending The Climate Smarting Comprehensive Disaster Management Country Workshop, slated for September 23 to 27, 2013 at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture conference room on Thompson Boulevard. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA and the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA facilitate the workshop

“We will however remind the participants and NEMA that this workshop is only the beginning of the process and must be reinforced by national actions that sustain these interventions,” Mr. Robertson said.

About 40 participants represent various departments in Government, Non-Governmental Organizations and other relevant agencies. Facilitators represent CDEMA and NEMA.

CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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