Region secures EU funding for disaster management

Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana, September 14, 2006 (CARICOM Secretariat)- The Caribbean Forum for African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (CARIFORUM) has secured a grant of €3.4 million from the European Commission to support the Region’s disaster preparedness programme. The project will be executed by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA).
Secretary-General of CARIFORUM, His Excellency Edwin Carrington and Head of the European Commission Delegation to Guyana, His Excellency Ambassador Per Eklund signed a Financing Agreement for the project at the Headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown Guyana on Thursday 14 September. The project is designed primarily to provide institutional support and capacity building for CDERA, in order to strengthen and increase its effectiveness and improve its coordination within the Region, including the non-English speaking Caribbean countries. It will also review and revise existing disaster management legislation with a view to establishing appropriate legislation where needed.

In addition, the grant will enable support for national awareness and management campaigns in collaboration with Government Agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other parties working in disaster management. There is also provision for increasing the use of Information and Communication Technology in Caribbean Disaster Management.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the CARIFORUM Secretary-General underscored the significance of the grant assistance to the Region in addressing the social, environmental and economic impacts felt by disaster-hit countries. “The assistance rendered therefore by this financing agreement will doubtlessly serve not only to strengthen CDERA and by extension the human resource capacity of our Region, but moreso to underwrite our economic and social development,” Mr Carrington said.

Ambassador Eklund in response noted that the grant is part of the European Development Fund, and will complement the European Commission’s recently approved Action Plan of €3.5 million for Disaster Preparedness in the Caribbean. He said disaster preparedness and prevention was part of the European Commission’s core mandate, and noted that further support was forthcoming for the ACP region.

Coordinator of CDERA, Mr Jeremy Collymore who witnessed the signing via video conferencing transmitted between Barbados and the CARICOM Secretariat, expressed gratitude for the EU assistance. He pledged to work closely with all regional stakeholders in the process of institutional strengthening and capacity building. He also acknowledged the call by Ambassador Eklund for swift implementation of the project.

CDERA was established as an Associate Institution of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), in 1991, with a mandate from the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM) to coordinate regional disaster management activities, particularly the elimination as far as possible of the consequences of disasters affecting participating states and the establishment and maintenance on a sustainable basis of adequate disaster response capabilities among participating states.

Press release 174/2006
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CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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