Jamaica prepares local disaster risk reduction plans ahead of the 2020 Regional Platform with the support of the "Making Cities Resilient" Global Campaign

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction – Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean

On October 22 and 23, the workshop "Disaster Risk Reduction and Making Cities Resilient: Towards the Development and Implementation of a Local Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy" was held in Kingston, Jamaica to help local authorities achieve the objectives of the Global Campaign "Making Resilient Cities: My City is Getting Ready!" for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 at the local level.

The workshop was organized within the framework of the planning for the VII Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP20) to be held from July 8 to 10, 2020 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Participants included local stakeholders from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM); Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ); and Climate Change Division, Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

This workshop represented a great opportunity to consolidate the commitment of the government of Jamaica, the local governments of Kingston and Montego Bay to the "Making Cities Resilient" campaign led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). It aimed to strengthen government capacities in the area of risk knowledge and in the application of campaign tools to assess resilience and develop local disaster risk reduction and action plans.

During the event, Mr. Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Community Development of Jamaica, reaffirmed his desire to develop local DRR action plans in two of the largest cities in the country prior to the Regional Platform 2020. "This workshop comes at a time when we are preparing to stage the regional platform on disaster risk reduction next year. Jamaica is placed as the leading country in the region with regards to disaster risk preparedness and reduction in all forms," he added.

Raúl Salazar, Chief of the UNDRR Office for the Americas and the Caribbean agreed: "We have decided jointly with the Minister McKenzie to start with Kingston and Montego Bay as an example of local resilience that could be shown in the context of a regional platform 2020 that will take place next year. We want to reach that point with local plans developed in these two areas and accelerate the pace in which other local governments implement these plans," he said.

To this end, a follow-up workshop will be organized for the development of local action plans. Mr. Patrick Watson, Director of Threat Mitigation and Risk Management of the Ministry of Local Government of Jamaica, commented that "for methodological reasons, it would be important for the cities of Jamaica to implement the assessment tools in their own local governments first, before the upcoming workshops."

The workshop also concluded with reflections on the need to focus national plans to support the development of local disaster risk reduction plans. Thus, the national government will provide a roadmap in November to guide local governments in the plan development process.

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