Wednesday, 9 April 2014

EU ambassador: Put it on the agenda

DISASTER Management should be on the front burner.

This in essence was the plea of the Ambassador, European Union (EU) Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Mikael Barford, on Monday at the EU Delegation Office in Barbados.

Amongst his suggestions for consideration were: “I think disaster management needs to be placed firmly on the agenda of the region’s finance and economic development ministers. In addition, the economic governance of the Caribbean should take these issues into account.”

He implored, “Given the impact that natural disasters have on the social and economic life of persons and countries, disaster management needs to be a priority in the Caribbean region.”

Therefore, he said, “As such, the European Union (EU) considers that it is only by enhancing the prevention, the preparation, the mitigation, the response and recovery capacity in relation to disasters, that we will strengthen progress and stability in the region.”

Furthermore, he insisted, “Likewise, addressing disaster management in the region is critical to ensuring sustainable economic development and poverty reduction,” a fact which he stressed was “particularly true for Small Island Developing States, of which 23 of the 52 designated by the United Nations are located in the Caribbean”.

Speaking to members of the EU states in attendance and others, during the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme in the CARIFORUM Signing Ceremony in recognition of the support provided by the EU to the CARIFORUM States, he further asserted, “The EU also recognises that the effective Disaster Management also needs to be an integral part of our development policies.”

As such, an acknowledgement has been made in the EU’s Strategy for Risk Reduction in Developing Countries adopted by the European Commission, back in 2009. (KG)̀

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