Cuba and CDEMA in Discussions on Disaster Risk Reduction Cooperation

Bridgetown, Barbados, February 14, 2012 (CDEMA) - Cuba and CDEMA have begun discussions on advancing disaster risk reduction cooperation agreements.  This announcement was made today by Mr. Jeremy Collymore, Executive Director, CDEMA following a meeting at the CDEMA Coordinating Unit with Her Excellency, Lissette Perez, Cuban Ambassador to Barbados.

He said that the meeting was following up on commitments coming out of the Declaration  of the Fourth CARICOM –CUBA Summit, held last December Trinidad and Tobago to deepen cooperation  and broaden partnerships in areas of mutual interest and benefit to the populations of the region.  The Declaration highlighted the vulnerability of the region to natural disasters, adverse weather patterns and climate change.

“The Meeting today looked specifically at how we will proceed on advancing the DRR components.  CDEMA will undertake a programming mission in April as a first step in elaborating the cooperation programme. The Mission will bring together officials from the relevant technical agencies to develop a two year cooperation programme and identify modalities for financing. ” Collymore said.

Discussions will also be held with disaster management officials on how to streamline Cuba’s response and relief support within the Regional Response System.

In giving her comments, Ambassador Perez highlighted “the reasons for the effectiveness of the Cuban system against adverse weather are among other things our ability to evacuate the vulnerable people in a few hours and avoid possible loss of lives and property. The preparation before these phenomena occur, the integrity of the participation of society in this effort, and the conscientiousness of the individual preparation are the core elements of our experience".

Collymore said he welcomed the opportunity to engage in talks with Cuba on disaster risk reduction and believed significant lessons could be learnt from both sides.