Jamaica tables green paper on disaster risk management

Jamaica hopes to strengthen its social and economic resilience as well as significantly reduce the negative effects of national disasters caused by natural hazards, man-made disasters and biological hazards by 2040.

Local Government and Rural Development Minister Desmond McKenzie made the revelation as he tabled the country’s Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Policy and Strategy, Green Paper 2020-2040 in Parliament on Tuesday.

“While it would seem that the case for developing this policy is obvious, it is important to state that a range of factors, including Jamaica’s historical vulnerability to disasters, the pace of our movement towards full resilience to disasters and the need to establish the financial foundations for disaster risk reduction are among the most important,” he told lawmakers.

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McKenzie said Jamaica is highly vulnerable to disasters and around 82% of the population and 70% of all major industries, including tourism and agriculture, are in coastal areas, which are particularly prone to disasters. meteorological hazards.

He said the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery has identified Jamaica as the third most multi-hazard country in the world.

Jamaica’s vulnerability to hurricane risk alone is particularly high, with average annual losses estimated at $67.3 million, or 0.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) and McKenzie said implementing optimal resilience to disaster risks requires substantial financial investments.

“This policy is one of the performance requirements of the conditional loan for natural disaster emergencies that was negotiated between Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank in 2018.

“This facility provides Jamaica with access to up to US$285 million to develop a project known as the Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Program, to mitigate the impact of severe natural disasters on the country’s finances,” he said.

Through this program, Jamaica’s disaster risk management capacity is significantly enhanced by focusing on five main areas: disaster risk management governance, risk identification, risks, preparedness and response and financial protection.

McKenzie said the comprehensive disaster risk management policy reflects the government’s strategic approach and will guide the integration of disaster risk management into development planning across all sectors and industries.

He told lawmakers that the green paper includes the management structure for implementing the policy, which will be led by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management. .

CMC/

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