The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) have convened a four-day training course in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, to improve the ability of policymakers from eight Caribbean countries to prepare for disasters and to assess their effects and impacts.
Director of ECLAC Caribbean, Diane Quarless, noted in her opening remarks that the week’s activities “places appropriate emphasis on disaster risk management, in which the imperatives of risk reduction, risk identification, preparedness and financial protection are critical pillars of sustainable development and resilience.” These perspectives were shared by the Secretary General of the ACS, Her Excellency Dr. June Soomer, who stated that “the benefits of more integrative, proactive frameworks will better aid in disaster risk reduction and will ensure that all citizens understand vulnerabilities and their role in managing such risks.”
The training,which takes place from 24-27 January 2017 under the theme “Planning for Disaster Risk Management and Disaster Assessment Methodology in the context of the 2030 Development Agenda and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals”, is being attended by policymakers representing disaster management agencies, and ministries of planning, finance, development, public works and housing in Aruba, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, in addition to representatives from ECLAC, the ACS and Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility) also participated and presented information to participants on its available products and services and how to access the Facility.
During the various sessions, participants will learn about the complexities of a disaster, how it might affect different sectors, and how to properly apply ECLAC’s Disaster Assessment Methodology, as well as the necessary information needed to implement it.
Ms. Quarless also stated that continued effort is needed in dealing with disasters. “Over the past 20 years, the international community has allocated almost US $70 billion in support of emergency response, while only US $13.5 billion has been designated for disaster risk reduction. These figures suggest that we still have work to do in raising awareness of the fact that prevention is better than cure.”
Special focus is being placed through the training on the link between disaster risk management,the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the promotion of Principle 10 in the region. The 2030 Agenda outlines a set of 17 global goals aimed at ending poverty, promoting decent work and economic growth, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all as part of a framework to advance sustainable development. The Agenda also recognizes the strong linkages between poverty, risk and resilience, and acknowledges how disasters can reverse accomplishments made in social, economic and environmental development.The Partnership for Principle 10 seeks to improve national public participation systems to ensure access to information, public participation, and justice in decision-making that affects the environment.
This training forms part of ECLAC’s on-going effort to strengthen the capacity of policy makers across Latin America and the Caribbean to respond to disasters. In this context, since 2015 ECLAC has strengthened partnerships with disaster-related institutions in the region such as the ACS, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and CCRIF SPC.