Strengthening Jamaica’s Disaster Risk Management Capacity | New

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The Green Paper on Jamaica’s Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Policy and Strategy 2020-2040 was tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie.

In his remarks, McKenzie said the essential objective of this policy is to ensure that by 2040, Jamaica will have strengthened its social and economic resilience and significantly reduced the negative effects of national disasters caused by natural hazards, disasters human-made and biological hazards.

“While it would seem that the case for developing this policy is obvious, it is important to state that a range of factors, including Jamaica’s historical vulnerability to disasters, the pace of our movement towards full resilience to disasters and the need for building the financial foundations for disaster risk reduction are among the most important,” he said.

McKenzie pointed out that Jamaica is highly vulnerable to disasters, noting that around 82% of the population and 70% of all major industries, including tourism and agriculture, are in coastal areas, which are particularly at risk. to meteorological hazards.

He further stated that the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery has identified Jamaica as the third most multi-hazard country in the world.

Jamaica’s vulnerability to hurricane risk alone is particularly high, with average annual losses estimated at $67.3 million, or 0.5% of gross domestic product (GDP).

The Minister of Local Government noted that implementing optimal disaster risk resilience requires substantial financial investments.

“This policy is one of the performance requirements of the conditional loan for natural disaster emergencies that was negotiated between Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank in 2018. This facility allows Jamaica to access maximum $285 million to develop a project known as the Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Program, to mitigate the impact of severe natural disasters on the country’s finances,” he said.

Through this program, Jamaica’s disaster risk management capacity is significantly enhanced by focusing on five main areas: disaster risk management governance, risk identification, risk reduction, preparedness and response and financial protection.

McKenzie said the comprehensive disaster risk management policy reflects the government’s strategic approach and will guide the integration of disaster risk management into development planning across all sectors and industries.

He informed that the green paper includes the management structure for the implementation of the policy, which will be led by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management. (ODPEM).

McKenzie said it also includes the mechanisms that will guide policy implementation through 2040, as well as the associated monitoring and evaluation framework.

It invites the public to read the green book and to comment on its provisions.

It will be available on a range of websites, including that of Parliament, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and ODPEM.

“There will also be a series of consultations with stakeholders across the island for a limited period, after which feedback will be assessed and any necessary changes… made,” McKenzie said.

He added that the government is looking forward to this process, “which will undoubtedly lead to a final policy that will accelerate and consolidate Jamaica’s pace of development through effective disaster risk reduction.”

Opposition local government spokeswoman Natalie Neita Garvey welcomed the tabling of the document, noting that it “came at the right time”.

– JIS News

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