Caribbean faces significant challenges from multiplicity of hazards

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CDEMA

NARRATOR: The Caribbean by virtue of its economic, geography and socio-political development faces significant challenges from the communities that are established in exposed areas to vulnerability in construction, to some of the weak risk management and planning institutions.

That view was expressed by the Executive Director of CDEMA –the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency Mr. Ronald Jackson at a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

However, he was quick to add that that was not a standard across all of the territories noting that some countries were improving in their capacities in this area – among them Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

TAPE:…but by and large, there is this issue dealing with what we call the underlying drivers of risk which leads us to very high exposures to risk and you would have heard about the fact that the Caribbean region is the second most vulnerable region in the world…The Caribbean faces very high vulnerability to a multiplicity of hazards seismic and other natural hazards including man-made hazards. There is high risk exposure from the efforts of the Caribbean governments to prosper the people. We depend on the coastal zones for a lot of our revenues for livelihoods and so that increases our risk. And, we are faced with the rapidly changing climate which we have very little or no control over but we have to deal with the outcomes.

NARRATOR:Mr. Jackson said some of the major challenges which the region faces, speak to accessing disaster reduction financing, but it recognized that with the processes of differentiation and graduation it was becoming increasingly challenging for member States in the Caribbean region to access development resources.

TAPE: There's also a developing shift in donor policy where we are seeing more centralisation on our focus; also on NGO's which is impacting on the capacity of governments to deal with both funding from national budgets and from donor support and there is certainly what we recognize as little investment going towards the building and strengthening and sustaining of humanitarian response capacity. And I want to note that given the potential impacts of climate change which we already see unfolding, there's a lot of resources going into mitigation and adaptation but very little going into dealing with the problem which certainly the Caribbean will continue to face by virtue of the outlook that has been presented by the IPCCC and others.

The Caribbean Resilience agenda is threatened therefore by its level of exposure, its dependence on coastal resources as well as the existing health of the Caribbean eco-systems.

NARRATOR:The Executive Director of CDEMA –the Caribbean Disaster Emergency management Agency Mr. Ronald Jackson said some of the challenges include sovereignty in the context of humanitarian response. He noted that sometimes, there is a potential negative impact on national institutions where humanitarian reform is implemented without consultation or adjustments – something of which he said the Caribbean was mindful and was working and trying to address. This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration:  3’00″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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September 2014
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