Disaster management policy important to CSME

Source: http://www.caricom.org/jsp/pressreleases/pres293_07.jsp

Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Dec 12, 2007 (CARICOM Secretariat)- Expanding the scope for collaboration and effective action to address disaster preparedness and post disaster efforts, must be a part of the Caribbean Region’s efforts to minimize the effects of natural disasters, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), H.E. Edwin Carrington said on 11 December 2007.
The Secretary-General was at the time delivering the feature address at the opening of the Second Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management, at the Hilton Hotel, Barbados. The conference was held under the theme `The Changing landscape of Caribbean Disaster Management – Vision Becoming Reality’.
"I am sure you can appreciate the critical link between an effective and comprehensive disaster management policy and a successful CARICOM Single Market and Economy. To that end, it is important that Regional decision-makers recognize that building capacity in disaster management is not merely a post-disaster humanitarian exercise. Rather, it must form part of the priority planning and be supported with adequate allocation of resources. Such an approach should be framed by policies and institutional arrangements that support effective action,” the Secretary-General said.

This conference is designed to be the Caribbean’s annual signature disaster management forum for reflection, dialoguing and measuring progress within the context of the enhanced Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy.

The dialogue, the Secretary General said, was both timely and pertinent, given the enormous toll that natural disasters had taken on Caribbean societies and economies in the past and in the face of the second most powerful earthquake the Region experienced late in November. Member States are also affected by hurricanes, floods, landslides, droughts and volcanoes, the Secretary-General pointed out. He added that climate change exacerbates all these “elements of our physical vulnerability”.

“This aspect of the phenomenon of our vulnerability also underscores the difficulties inherent in the movement of our Region into the global economy It also brings home more acutely, the need for us in the Caribbean to heed the calls for disaster management and adaptation, particularly in the face of climate change,” he told the gathering.

The Secretary-General also lamented the fact that the Region lags behind in the systematic collection of basic data on disaster risk and in the development of planning tools to track the relationship between development policy and disaster risk.

“There are still significant deficiencies in the quality, quantity and comparability of baseline data, crucial for formulating policies and taking decisions relating to disaster risk reduction,” he said.

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