Barbados welcomes EU support
Barbados is among regional countries due to benefit from a 20 million-euro disaster management grant from the European Union (EU).
And, Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite has lauded the support, saying it signalled the region’s importance to the EU and to the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme.
He made these comments while delivering opening remarks during the launch of the Africa, Caribbean And Pacific-European Union National Disaster Risk Management in the CARIFORUM Programme at Radisson Aquatica Resort.
“Twenty million euros is not by any stretch of the imagination a little bit of money, and it signals a very serious commitment on the part of the European Union . . . at a time in particular when worldwide we are all stretched financially,” Brathwaite said.
The minister further pointed out that even as countries sought to develop comprehensive disaster management programmes, often those impacted were ignored.
But he said it was the responsibility of governments to ensure that the region, individually and collectively, was better able to respond to any type of hazard, be it man-made or natural.
Head of the European Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Mikael Barfod, also addressed today’s meeting. He noted that the CARIFORUM Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme was designed to focus on the reduction of risks due to natural hazards.
“Addressing disaster management in the region is critical to ensuring sustainable economic development and poverty reduction. This is particularly true for small-island developing states (SIDS) of which 23 of the 52, designated by the United Nations, are located in the Caribbean,” he said.
The director general of CARIFORUM, Percival Marie, pointed out that a single event could destroy the economies of a number of states within just a few hours.
As a result, he said the programme was designed to strengthen regional, national and community-level capacities for mitigation, preparedness, management and coordinated responses to natural hazards, and the effects of climate change.
“It is only through resilient growth that we can achieve sustainable development,” Marie stated.
Apart from Barbados, the other beneficiaries include Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
The programme will be implemented over a five-year period, from 2014 to 2019, by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Dominican Republic.