Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, is urging cooperation among countries in the region to develop solutions for disaster risk reduction (DRR).
He said that such solutions are imperative, particularly for small island developing states (SIDS) that are most vulnerable and which, on average, incur damage equivalent to 2.1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) every year.
Minister McKenzie was addressing the just concluded Seventh Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean, held virtually from the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
The Regional Platform, under the theme ‘Building Resilient Economies in the Americas and the Caribbean,’ was aimed at raising awareness about the increasing economic and human costs of disasters in the Americas and the Caribbean, including the special challenges facing SIDS.
“It will produce, through our discussions, the next steps we will take as we work to develop and increase resilience in our economies and in our societies,” Minister McKenzie noted.
In her remarks at the ceremony, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Alicia Barsena, said groups that are among those most affected by disasters should be prioritised in discussions related to DRR.
“Disaster risk reduction policies should focus on the human dimension… beyond any economic considerations. It is an ethical imperative that, not only should no one be left behind in the reconstruction process but that the groups that have the greatest vulnerability have priority,” she said.
The Regional Platform was chaired by the Government of Jamaica and co-organised with 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).