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CDEMA to improve disaster response with new procurement procedures

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), with support from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), has developed and will implement new procurement and contract management procedures to facilitate a more streamlined and efficient use of their resource pool, including disaster management funds.

According to a release from the CDB, after conducting a routine assessment of its operations, geared toward the continual improvement of financial management practices, a number of recommendations for improving the unit's procurement system were identified.

Updating the existing procurement manual to address gaps related to procurement and contract management was among the suggestions.

CDB said its support included providing training and financing consultancy services to prepare a procurement and contract management manual that will act as a practical guide to CDEMA's staff.

It said the new procurement and contract management framework was presented to participants from 13 of CDEMA's 18 participating states on March 7 during a one-day workshop at the bank.

“CDB agreed to assist in this undertaking, recognising the opportunity it will offer CEDMA to strengthen its fiduciary management, best realise value for money in its operations, and effectively deploy resources in preparation for and response to disasters that arise,” Douglas Fraser, Head, Procurement, CDB told participants.

“We commend CEDMA on this achievement. At the same time we recognise that this is only the start of the journey, as the next step will be to operationalise the new framework in day-to-day operations, which will naturally be a learning process for the staff, partners, and private sector providers of CEDMA,” he said.

During the workshop, officers from the region's National Disaster Offices were trained in the new procedures, and tabled their queries about the new manual, which will apply to procurement undertaken within participating states for future CDEMA CU projects and activities.

“Embracing the new procedures is critical if the CDEMA System is to continue accessing development resources which support national programming priorities, Elizabeth Riley, Deputy Executive Director, CDEMA said.

“Good financial management is a responsibility of the CDEMA System, the coordinating unit and participating states; and consistent application of the procedures by all parties is necessary to strengthen accountability for use of financial resources whether they be derived from grant funds of development partners, or contributions from Governments,” she said.

The new manual outlines changes to existing procedures, including a formalised structure for procurement and contract management; the addition of a procurement officer on CDEMA's team; and a more transparent process that will allow the private sector to identify opportunities, access contract award information and understand their rights and responsibilities, outlined CDB.

The new procedures are expected to be implemented in CDEMA's new financial year, which starts in September, and will help shape a more effective procurement process, including how the agency hires for disaster management projects, and how contractors bid for projects.

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