Message from Hon. Mr. Andrew Holness,
Prime Minister of Jamaica
Message from Ms. Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDRR
Message from Hon. Minister Desmond A. McKenzie. Minister of Local Government and Community Development
Jamaica's hosting of the VII Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean under the theme "Building Resilient Economies in the Americas and the Caribbean" is aimed at raising awareness of the increasing economic and human cost of disasters in the Americas and the Caribbean, including the special challenges facing Small Island Developing States. At the VI Regional Platform on Disaster Reduction in the Americas, held in Cartagena Colombia June 20 – 22, 2018, a decision was taken to convene the next forum in Jamaica. This will be the first time a regional platform will be held in the Caribbean, one of the world's most vulnerable regions to extreme weather events and seismic activity.
In 1998-2017 disaster-hit countries reported direct economic losses valued at USD 2,908 billion. Reported losses from extreme weather events rose by 151% compared to the previous 20-year period. The Americas and the Caribbean accounts or 53% of reported global economic losses in the last 20 years as a result of climate-related disasters. The heaviest cost of storms relative to the size of their economies fell on small island states of the Caribbean. The United Nations lists Jamaica among the countries most exposed to natural hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides and flooding. The Hon. Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government & Community Development and Deputy Chairman of the National Disaster Risk Management Council (NDRMC) said "the forum will raise awareness not just for Jamaica, but for the region on a whole to have a real platform for expression of our positions on disaster risk and all the associated issues".
Regional Platforms are recognized by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (A/RES/69/283) as critical mechanisms to monitor progress in its implementation at the regional level. They also play an instrumental role in the development of policies and strategies and in the advancement of knowledge and mutual learning at the regional level. Regional Platforms take stock of the implementation of disaster risk reduction strategies that are aligned with the Sendai Framework and assess the level of progress made, to identify gaps and priorities and make recommendations for the development of the next Global Platform.