MOU signed for conference on Disaster Management | THE DAILY HERALD

CDEMA’s Ronald Jackson making his address to the gathering which included Education Minister Wycliffe Smith, Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever, Governor Eugene Holiday and Préfecture of St. Barths and St. Martin representatives.

POND ISLAND–With Thursday’s signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) by Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin and Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Executive Director Ronald Jackson, the eleventh Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management is set to take place in St. Maarten from December 2 to 6.

The theme for this year’s conference will be “The Road to Resilience Checkpoint 2019: Safeguarding Our Communities, Livelihoods, and Economies”.

Coming on the heels of the MOU that Romeo-Marlin signed last month with CDEMA on behalf of the entire Dutch Kingdom, yesterday’s MOU brings the Caribbean’s largest gathering of disaster-risk-management professionals to St. Maarten to address common issues surrounding disaster management, preparedness and response.

This will be a landmark event, said Jackson, highlighting that it will be the first time an overseas territory and a non-Caribbean Community CARICOM member state will host the conference.

It is also expected to be a significant event, as it is a critical juncture that marks the mid-term in the implementation of CDEMA’s Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy 2014-2024, according to Jackson.

He looks forward to hearing several key statements and results at the conference, such as the state of implementation reporting that will provide clarity on where the region stands on its road to resilience.

Social protections for the marginal and most vulnerable populations; enhancing economic opportunities, critical infrastructure, and natural environments; and improving operational readiness for response and recovery are several pillars on this path, said Jackson, which “signifies the growing emphasis being placed by CDEMA that the issues of disaster risk reduction are a social issue and an economic issue that demand high political visibility beyond simply the window a natural disaster presents.”

The conference will feature plenary sessions, panel discussions, professional development segments and research presentations. There will also be technical and concurrent sessions built around specific disaster management case studies.

Safeguarding through stronger institutions and youth empowerment are two topics that will feature prominently during the conference, with young persons being stimulated through youth debates, a film festival, and a conference exhibition that will be open to schools and the general public.

A gala and awards ceremony will cap off the five-day conference.

“Attending this event is an excellent opportunity to improve disaster risk management awareness, exchange information on best practices, while building stronger professional networks,” said CDEMA Planning and Business Development Manager Andrea Grosvenor.

This conference is a second step and a “huge stride” towards St. Maarten’s pursuit of CDEMA membership, said Romeo-Marlin.

“Considering the rapid rate of climate change and its effects, I believe for many governments around the world disaster risk management will remain a top priority for many years to come. Having CDEMA as a partner is an asset for St. Maarten, as we can benefit from years of experience of some 18 participating members,” she said.

“The partnership represents a signalling of the government of St. Maarten’s shared commitment to comprehensive disaster management and to our efforts to advance the region’s sustainability and resilience agenda,” added Jackson.

Source: The Daily Herald