Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry, says several valuable lessons have emerged from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that can potentially aid in bolstering stakeholder preparedness for similar and other future occurrences.
Key among these, Dr. Henry said, are the importance of technology-enabled mechanisms, and information-sharing.
He was speaking during a digital high-level forum on the theme ‘Strengthening Disaster Risk Governance: Lessons from COVID-19’.
The forum formed part of the seventh semi-virtual Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP21), which was held at the Jamaica Conference, downtown Kingston, from November 1 to 4, under the theme ‘Building Resilient Economies in the Americas and the Caribbean’.
Dr. Henry said the protocols to limit COVID-19 transmission have underscored the importance of and need for technology-enabled mechanisms to facilitate engagements, without putting lives at risk.
He noted, for example, that technology has been extremely useful “as we had to move educational service delivery online for our school system”.
The Director General said information-sharing is also imperative, pointing out that in times of crisis, “it allows for [stakeholder] collaboration and buy-in [and for them] to know what is happening.”
“Credibility and trust [are also as] important as the information that is shared, to allow for collaboration of the various actors,” he shared.
“The need for mechanisms to be in place… [is imperative]. You can’t wait for the crisis to come, and then you end up trying to react. So, the need to be proactive is very important,” he underscored.
The four-day Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean conference was jointly hosted by the Government of Jamaica, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean, and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).