DRR in the Caribbean: Road to resilience, road to sustainable development

Pictured in photo following the CDM9 opening ceremony are from left: Captain Stephen Russell, Director, NEMA; The Hon. Adriel Brathwaite, Chairman, CDEMA Council; the Hon. Arnold Forbes, Minister of State, Ministry of Works and Urban Development; The Most Hon. P J Patterson, former Prime Minister, Jamaica; and, at right, Rev. Ranford Patterson, President, Bahamas Christian Council. Photo credit: Bahamas Weekly (BIS Photo/Kemuel Stubbs).

By: UNDRR - The Americas

NASSAU, Bahamas 10, December, 2015 – “2015 has been a watershed year in the international arena with respect to the setting of a global agenda for resilience” noted Most Hon. P. J. Patterson, ON, OCC, PC, QC on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and its importance for its implementation in the Caribbean States, during his opening ceremony speech of the 9th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM 9), convened under the theme: "The Road to Resilience: Checkpoint 2015” in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Sendai Framework adopted in March 2015, is the first major agreement of the Post-2015 development agenda which seeks to create resilient nations. The Caribbean, a region of over 40 million inhabitants is one of the most disaster prone regions in the world.  Due to its geographic location the Caribbean is highly prone to major climatic hazards such as strong winds and heavy rains associated with the annual formation of tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes, often giving rise to floods.

“For us in the Caribbean, we live in an almost constant state of tension in the achievement of sustainable development. Almost every year, we go through the cycle of responding and recovering from severe natural disasters” said Most Hon. P. J. Patterson mentioning the latest disasters in the region, which occurred in Dominica and Bahamas in the past months. “We have great cause to be concerned about the effects of climate change; rising sea levels which threaten our coastal developments, and devastate our agricultural production; more severe tropical storms which can eradicate years of hard work in a few short hours; and proliferation of tropical diseases” he added about the way disasters in the region affect the livelihoods of individuals as well as their ability to flourish economically and professionally.

In mentioning climate change and its impending threat in Caribbean States, Most Hon. P. J. Patterson referenced the Paris Climate Conference occurring in December where world leaders met to discuss climate change and take action on its present importance. In doing so he stressed on the importance of advocacy and political awareness for the Caribbean region during this time “For climate change, depletion of the ozone shields, desertification, rising sea levels, disappearance of species are manifestations that all who inhabit earth – the single planet to which we belong - can no longer ignore the threat of an environmental holocaust unless we take decisive action today. The destruction of our environment is a prelude to the extinction of us all if we fail to do so” he urged.

Within the framework of the CDM9, a session on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) trough the Regional Office for the Americas, enhanced the understanding of the elements of the Sendai Framework as well as the process developing the related indicators and terminology. The linkages to the CDM strategy as well as global agendas on climate change and sustainable development were highlighted.

The Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management “Road to Resilience” concluded with awarding Jeremy MacArthur Collymore the highest award of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) at the Closing Ceremony for his dedication and commitment to the advancement of Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) throughout the region and globally. The conference also unveiled two new initiatives, which included the Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (MER) Framework for the CDM Strategy 2014-2024 and the baseline study. Additionally, the conference counted with the participation of Mr. Ronald H. Jackson, Executive Director – CDEMA, Honorable Adriel Brathwaite QC MP, Barbados, Honorable Arnold Forbes MP, Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and Captain Stephen Russell, NEMA.


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9th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management

Address by Hon. P. J. Patterson











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