Cabinet approves development of National Disaster Risk Policy

Thursday, November 08, 2018

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CABINET has approved the development of a Policy on National Disaster Risk Financing.

The policy, a release from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service said yesterday, is set against the backdrop that Jamaica, between 1993 and 2003, suffered from 26 natural disasters which resulted in total losses and damage of US$2.22 billion.

“The Government has taken a proactive approach by laying the groundwork for the drafting of a policy that will see Jamaica being more independent and responsive when disasters strike,” Finance Minister Clarke is quoted as saying.

“The practice of shifting budgeted resources from planned activities is imprudent and we have taken another step in the right direction with this policy initiative,” he continued.

The policy is expected to create greater transparency and efficiencies in the mobilisation and execution of public expenditure in disaster risk management. Critical components of which, the release said, include developing fiscal resilience to natural disasters through designation of the contingency fund as the National Catastrophic Disaster Reserve Fund and build-up of a strong fiscal buffer; improve insurance of public assets and incorporate disaster risk analysis in public sector investments and planning from a physical planning perspective.

The release said the approval of the development of a Policy on National Disaster Risk Financing is an antecedent to a joint hosting of a public forum with the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and the World Bank on 'Facing the Fiscal Risks of Natural Disasters'.

The public forum, which was to contribute to a national conversation on strengthening resilience and advancing disaster risk financing managing risks in the context of the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters and the rising impact of climate change, was held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel yesterday.

Jamaica, like other Caribbean island states, is highly exposed to extreme weather events and climate risks, the release continued. The impact on the lives of citizens can be severe, and it is often the most vulnerable who are affected from these shocks which are frequently followed by income and productivity losses.

According to the release, the approval of the development of a Policy on National Disaster Risk Financing is in alignment with the Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan, the medium-term Socio-economic Policy Framework and the fiscal management strategy of the Government.

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