Reports and policy recommendations on matters directly impacting Antigua & Barbuda and other participatory states will be among the issues to be discussed when the third 3rd Meeting of the Council of the Ministers of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), meets in Jamaica, Thursday.
Minister of Health, Social Transformation, Consumer Affair & Local Government Willmoth Daniel will be representing the twin –island state at the regional meeting. He is expected to table the country’s status report during that session.
Daniel, who is the minister with responsibility for disaster management, indicated that, whilst the council will receive reports and policy recommendations on matters that directly impact participating States, central among these are the CDEMA programming support on disaster risk reduction management to each country and the National Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Policy and Framework.
Particularly, for Antigua & Barbuda, Minister Daniel said, “ the twin island state has just completed as part of its comprehensive disaster management strategy, a pilot project in St. Mary’s South which deals specifically with community profile and multi-hazard vulnerability intervention options to be included in the government development program. This should result in a significant reduction in the level of vulnerability to the population in this community.”
This, he said will be replicated in all seventeen (17) districts over the next few years.
This policy, will serve as a blueprint for accelerating the National Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Policy and Framework, within each CDEMA Participating State. During the meeting endorsement of the National Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Policy and Legal Framework adaptation guide will be sought.
“Antigua & Barbuda disaster management work program 2013-2015 will reflect these considerations in a phase prioritize process.” Minister Daniel said, adding that the private sector will be encouraged to follow the government’s lead Agency –National Office of Disaster Services in an improved partnership.
“This will require more aggressive collaboration between the private sector, civil society, and the government of Antigua and Barbuda, who supports the CDEMA transformation even though financially, it is very painful,” he stated.
Minister Daniel explained further that, over the years Antigua and Barbuda has built some specialized capacity, emergency telecommunications, mass casualty management, and in recent times built a light level search and rescue training facility.
To this end, initial discussions are ongoing with USAID Agency for International Development (USAID) to train our sub-regional focal point partners, as a team at the Antigua Training Facility.
The Council, which meets annually to review the work of the Agency and make major policy decisions, is the policy making body of CDEMA and will also discuss the review of emergency events that affected CDEMA Participating States in 2011 and strategic preparations for the hurricane season.
Additionally, a key item on the agenda at each meeting is the report from the Management Committee of Council on financial and administrative matters.
The opening ceremony of the Council Meeting will be held on the evening of June 28, at 7.00pm.