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ODPM MEDIA RELEASE - The region affirms its commitment to continue advancing CDM in the region


(For immediate release)

Saturday December 10, 2011 – 9:45 a.m.

As the curtain closes on the 6th Caribbean Conference on CDM, the region re-affirms its commitment to continue advancing Comprehensive Disaster Management

The 6th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management officially ended on Friday December 09. This annual conference which has been positioned as an important forum for local, regional and international disaster risk management advocates and professionals, featured professional development sessions, stimulating plenary sessions, an exciting youth session and debate, an interesting High Level Session, film festival, a conference tour which assessed the dynamic of the vulnerabilities of Trinidad’s west coast, exhibition hall, poster display and a 20th Anniversary Awards ceremony which celebrated the contribution of five individuals whose leadership and commitment  have significantly influenced the development of disaster management in the region. Conducted from December 05-09, under the theme “CDM: Reflection, Introspection and Moving Forward”, this event attracted more than three hundred and fifty local, regional and international participants. This conference was also of special significance because it commemorated twenty years of institutionalised disaster management in the region and aimed to assess the achievements and successes of comprehensive disaster management over the twenty year period and implement strategies for advancing CDM in the region. Some of the High Level speakers at the conference included Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, former Prime Minister of Barbados; Margareta Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Disaster Risk Reduction; Honourable Mark Brown, Minister of Finance and Economic Development of the Cook Islands and the Honourable Adriel Brathwaite, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs of Barbados.

In her remarks at the Closing Ceremony, Andria Grosvenor, Technical Manager, Preparedness and Country Support, CDEMA and 2011 Conference Chair, indicated that although progress has been made over the past twenty years, a lot more needs to be done in the field of comprehensive disaster management in the region. She opined that “political awareness has grown but this must be transferred into action.” Her comments on political action echoed the comments of the Honourable Adriel Brathwaite, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs of Barbados who stated at the High Level Session that “the only way to get the missing voices on board is by making disaster risk reduction a part of the political process.”

Here is a summary of the main issues raised at the conference:

  • Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation are branches of the same tree and the message of convergence must influence the treatment of these two issues;
  • Ministries of Finance and Planning in the participating states must be engaged in order to mainstream  Comprehensive Disaster Management more aggressively at the national level;
  • There is a need to re-visit the issue of risk transfer within the CDM agenda;
  • There is a need to continue raising public awareness of CDM and translate this awareness into the ability to articulate this as a priority for national attention. More ‘grass roots’ support of CDM is also required;
  • More investment is needed for the monitoring, evaluating and reporting of disasters. There must be improvement and standardisation of damage assessments and data collections and its link to decision-making, recovery and reconstruction which can ultimately guide the development process;
  • The resources (finance, personnel and equipment) of national disaster offices in the participating states must be augmented;
  • Seize the opportunity to use the youth as catalysts for change: youth as champions of CDM in the region. Engagement of youth beyond the conference is key.

Dr. Stephen Ramroop, Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) and Co-Chair of the 2011 conference, thanked all delegates for their feedback and opinions on moving forward with comprehensive disaster management in the region. He also thanked all local entities and agencies which worked closely with the ODPM and CDEMA in order to successfully conduct this conference.

Mr. Jeremy Collymore, Executive Director of CDEMA officially closed the session by recognising the support of regional and international partners and re-affirming the commitment of the regional agency toward the management, championing and advocacy of disaster risk for the region.


About Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM)

CDM is the regional contribution to the United Nations’ International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’s (UNISDR) Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, a blueprint for global action in Disaster Risk Reduction. For more information on CDM, visit

Issued by:

Public Information Education and Community Outreach Unit, ODPM

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