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Timely hosting for Regional Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

JIS NEWS, Kingston: Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the hosting of the Seventh Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP20) by Jamaica, in July 2020, will be timely.

Speaking in an interview with Radio Turks and Caicos at the inaugural Shock-Responsive Social Protection in the Caribbean Regional Symposium, in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, on June 27, Mr. McKenzie said with the recent changes in Jamaica’s weather pattern, in particular the rain and temperatures, and the formation of hurricanes outside of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, responses to climate change have to be crafted.

“What we are seeing is a dramatic change in the weather pattern, and all of this is because the matter of climate change perhaps has not dawned on us and the question is not ‘if’, it’s ‘when’. It is here, but it has not yet manifested itself in the way to have a devastating effect on the region,” the Minister said.

“We met with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to look at aspects of the planning. To the Council of Ministers, I am prepared to make a presentation to that meeting as to what we are expecting from the region in Jamaica in July of next year,” he said.

Regional Platforms are United Nations Office on Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) conferences that bring together government officials and heads of disaster and emergency management agencies within a region with key stakeholders in disaster risk reduction, to foster collaboration and the sharing of best practices and techniques.

The Platforms aid countries in achieving the targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015.

Next year will be the first time a Regional Platform will be hosted in the Caribbean, and as such, the name was changed to reflect that. With a Caribbean country as the host nation, the disaster risks faced by small island developing states can be better highlighted to participants from North, Central and South America and the rest of the world.

“We are expecting close to 1,500 to 1,600 delegates to participate and they will be coming from all across the globe. It is anticipated that we are going to have participation from 60 or more countries, not just within the region but from as far as Africa,” Minister McKenzie said.

The impact of climate change on the Caribbean will be among the topical issues examined and discussed at the RP20, slated for July 8 to 10, 2020, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James. The theme for RP20 is: ‘Building Resilient Economies in the Americas and the Caribbean’.

The symposium was hosted by the World Food Programme and CDEMA, in collaboration with the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

It was a precursor to the Ninth Meeting of the Council of CDEMA on June 28.