June 1, 20111114Views

Representatives attending the Second Meeting of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) shared key outcomes of the meeting, stating that discussions were focused mainly on policy options and effective ways of addressing the increasingly problematic hazards affecting the region.

Speaking at  a press briefing  last  Friday at the Long Bay Beach Resort,  Executive Director of CDEMA, Jeremy Collymore, said a team of regional  National Disaster Coordinators and Directors looked at various lessons learned from previous events and made recommendations for policy considerations.

“We have to consolidate our core business of preparing the countries for the new hazards and new characters and characteristics that these hazards are undertaking and presenting themselves in our space,” he added.

According to Collymore, there is a desire to strengthen the connection between the management of events and the use of plans and procedures that already exists. There is also the need for better integration between policymakers and technical officers to ensure that challenges are effectively managed.

Additionally, new information was discussed in relation to housing needs during emergencies, and the management of shelters.

On the issue of climate change, he said the TAC reinforced the observation made by the United Nations  General Assembly Global Assessment platform that  it is imperative to urgently address how  disaster  risk  reduction  and  climate  change adaptation  issues are managed at a national level.

Collymore  added that in an effort to ensure better integration between  climate change reduction and the man-made effects of environmental and social mismanagement, a technical negotiation support team would be set up to ensure preparation for national negotiation.

The  TAC  also examined the implementation  of  the  Comprehensive Disaster Management  (CDM)  Policy.  Collymore said the  TAC also  recognised and endorsed a three–step framework for the elaboration of the policy and presentation to the council.

He said  a review suggested there is still a  need for a deeper understanding  of what CDEMA  represents in terms of  CDM.

“This understanding is important to the buy-in of this agenda which seeks to promote making disaster management everybody’s business.”

Additionally, the status of the draft legislation was examined which will seek to guide countries  on how to obligate some expectations to ensure safe and resilient communities.

The committee has agreed on instrument standards and has provided recommendations for the adoption of a  monitoring and  evaluation  framework  to measure  the  progress of  their initiatives and to get buy-in from participating states and financial contributors.

Chairman of TAC Elton Georges, said the meeting reminded him of the extremely hard work that has to go into making the community more resilient to disasters. He explained that such  meetings produce  the material on which  heads  of  government  will  base  their decisions and recommendations for disaster management support.

“I was extremely impressed by the work that these public servants in the coordinating unit of the CDEMA and in the various National Disaster Organizations around the Caribbean put in, day after day, year in, year out,” Georges said.

Ambassador  Joshua  Sears of the Bahamas, whose island hosted the first  TAC meeting, said he is pleased that there was tremendous focus on areas of training, successionplanning, orientation, provision of resources, and information sharing to enable officers to be empowered and to discharge responsibilities in an orderly fashion.

This  year’s TAC meeting  was hosted in the Virgin Islands from May 24-27.

It was a collaborative effort of the Premier’s Office, Department of  Disaster  Management and CDEMA.