Financial coverage for disaster management in place, says Mckenzie
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Government has put in place the necessary financial coverage for disaster management, says Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie.
Speaking at the Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Blueprint Regional Capacity-building Workshop at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on November 21, the minister said the objective is to ensure that the country has access to billions of dollars that will be required to respond to shocks that would, in other circumstances, derail national plans and programmes.
“The Government of Jamaica has taken into consideration our vulnerability and has moved to put in place the necessary financial coverage for disaster risk management. These include the Natural Disaster Fund, the Contingency Fund, the Credit Contingency Facility in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank which is valued at US$285 million or approximately $40 billion,” the minister said.
“This is in addition to the Catastrophe Bond, valued at $30 billion, and in keeping with the commitment under the comprehensive disaster risk management programme, Jamaica has developed a comprehensive disaster risk management policy which was approved and tabled in Parliament as a Green Paper,” he added.
The minister said public consultations have been initiated on the National Natural Disaster Risk Financing policy, which is designed to minimise the effects of disaster on the national budget and to enhance national space within the economy to ensure that the objectives under the comprehensive disaster risk management policy are pursued.
Meanwhile, he said continuous preparation and capacity-building are critical for natural disasters. “We must never put down our guards when it comes to preparing for natural disasters,” he said.
McKenzie also encouraged persons to take personal responsibility in preparing for and dealing with disasters.
He urged Jamaicans to continue to exercise vigilance given the recent earthquake and heavy rains that impacted the island.
Furthermore, he said steps have been taken by countries in the region to advance resilience and implementing the comprehensive disaster management blueprint in the Caribbean.
“We are not merely going through the motions. We as a body of States with common experiences have been taking steps to advance resilience in our respective countries, in collaboration with our bilateral and multilateral development partners,” he said.
Other speakers at the workshop included Acting Director General, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Richard Thompson; Programme Manager, Disaster Risk Management, Virgine André, and Executive Director, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Elizabeth Riley.
Through the Building the Resilience of the CARIFORUM States to Disaster Risks and Climate Change Impacts Programme, the workshop is being hosted for senior members of the national disaster management organisations to address the advancement of the CDM Blueprint.
The blueprint provides the conceptual framework needed for the effective delivery of CDM at the national level.