Jamaica News: The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is staging a four-day workshop in post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA) methodology, to strengthen the capacity of public officials to better inform decision-making and resilience building following a natural disaster.
Targeted at those in the fields of tourism and culture, the training is led by Economist and Disaster Risk Reduction Consultant, Dr. Asha Kambon, an internationally renowned expert in the area of disaster impact assessment.
Deputy Director General of Sustainable Development and Social Planning at the PIOJ, Claire Bernard, said the workshop is part of Jamaica’s pursuit of Outcome 14 of the National Development Plan, Vision 2030.
“This outcome says we want to ensure that Jamaica is paying attention to hazard risk-reduction and adaptation to climate change,” she noted during her address to the stakeholders at the event, held at The Courtleigh Hotel and Suites in New Kingston today (September 25).
Ms. Bernard said that Jamaica must also work to achieve the outcomes of the 15-year Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which was adopted at the third United Nations World Conference in Sendai, Japan, on March 18, 2015.
“This (Framework) speaks to the substantial reduction of disaster-risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries,” she said.
Ms. Bernard argued that the heightened awareness among the participants of the workshop will lead to stronger resilience in the cultural and tourism sectors and the economy on the whole.
Meanwhile, Environment Specialist at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Hopeton Peterson, in his remarks, said the PDNA represents the Bank’s efforts to take concrete steps to help its borrowing member countries better understand “the costs of hazard impacts on the society, economy and the environment”.
Mr. Peterson said the focus on tourism and culture is appropriate, given the sectors’ significant contributions to the local economy.
“As with other climate-sensitive sectors, the potential benefits of tourism are at risk of experiencing damage and losses from the adverse effects of climate change,” he said.
“The unfortunate reality is that a large majority of tourism properties and cultural sites are located on the coastal areas that are low-lying, highly corrodible and subject to sea-level rise. With the threats posed to the tourism and cultural sectors, it is of great importance that the country build a robust capacity to assess damage and losses to the sectors in the event of a disaster,” Mr. Peterson added.
For his part, Director of Tourism Facilitation in the Tourism Ministry’s Policy and Monitoring Division, Osbourne Chin, said the Ministry is pleased to participate in the workshop, because it fits within its Climate Change and Multi-Hazard Contingency Programme.
It is aimed primarily at strengthening the resilience of the tourism sector against the various natural disasters and emergencies that may disrupt industry operations, he said.
Mr. Chin pointed out that Jamaica, through the Tourism Ministry, has a number of robust disaster risk-management and climate change adaptation frameworks, which are supported by local and international partners.
In the meantime, Director of World Heritage and Cultural Conventions in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Debra-Kay Palmer, said that Jamaica must be prepared as much as possible to minimise the effects of hazards and risks.
Over the four days, participants will build awareness of the need to accurately assess the impact of disaster events when they occur and will acquaint themselves with Jamaica’s Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness Framework and the role that impact assessment will play.
A field trip to Port Royal will also be undertaken as part of the four-day workshop.
Support funding for the workshop has been provided by the CDB, and auxiliary support by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Source: JIS News