CDEMA and Cuba officials advancing talks on cooperation programme for disaster risk reduction

Bridgetown, Barbados, January 18, 2013 (CDEMA) - A high level delegation from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) will travel to Cuba on a two day mission, January 21-22, to advance CARICOM/Cuba Cooperation Programme for disaster risk reduction.

Jeremy Collymore, Executive Director of CDEMA and head of the two-person delegation, explained that the mission and anticipated Cooperation Programme is an outcome of the Declaration of Port of Spain. At the 4th Summit of the Heads of State of Governments of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Republic of Cuba, in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, in December 2011, CARICOM and Cuba renewed their commitment to deepen cooperation and broaden partnerships in areas of mutual interest for the benefit of the populations of the region. Among the areas identified were vulnerability of the region to natural disasters, adverse weather patterns and climate change.

Following that Meeting, CDEMA began discussions in February 2012 with Cuba’s Ambassador to Barbados, Her Excellency, Lissette Perez. Since that time, this engagement has continued with Cuban emergency management counterparts on identifying areas of cooperation and a possible framework for implementation of the programme.

This mission is expected to further familiarise CDEMA with the Cuban system of emergency management. The CDEMA delegation will also have opportunity for sharing on its Comprehensive Disaster Management programme and achievements to date.

Key aspects of the cooperation programme are likely to include sharing of experiences and expertise through exchanges of technical personnel which could also provide opportunities for building language skills through immersion. There is also the potential for the streamlining of Cuba’s response and relief support within the CARICOM Regional Response Mechanism

The mission to Cuba is being supported through the UNDP funded Caribbean Risk Management Initiative (CRMI) which seeks to build capacity and promote good practice exchanges across the Caribbean region for the management of climate-related risk between the different linguistic communities.

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