Statement from the Prime Minister and Minister with Responsibility for Disaster Risk Management in Guyana
The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR), observed annually on October 13 since 1989, provides us with an opportunity to acknowledge the progress being made toward reducing disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods, and health. This year’s observance is focused on the sixth of the seven targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), and is centred on, “International cooperation for developing countries to reduce their disaster risk and disaster losses.”
International cooperation is a collaborative relationship between entities to work toward shared objectives through a mutually agreed division of labour; at the country level, this means engaging under government leadership with national stakeholders and external partners (including international development agencies) in developing, implementing, and monitoring that country’s development strategy (UNCCD-ICCD/CRIC (11)/INF.3). The theme of IDDRR 2021 has come at a most opportune time; as the world continues to grapple with the ongoing global pandemic and its impacts on human health, education, and the economy, to name a few, we have seen that there is, undoubtedly, great need and merit in international cooperation to tackle issues such as these which threaten our individual and collective existence as nations.
Analyses of disasters have long shown that the levels of impacts observed are disproportional across countries, with low- and middle-income nations suffering graver losses and damages when disasters strike, especially in terms of mortality, injuries, displacement, economic losses, and damages to critical infrastructure. International cooperation for developing countries through Official Development Aid (ODA) and capacity building is therefore essential to boost disaster resilience, and, more importantly, to assist these nations to develop policy, legislative frameworks, institutional architecture, and associated investment vehicles for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in line with the goal, targets, and priorities for action of the SFDRR.
The Human Development Report of 2020 outlines that Guyana’s Human Development Index value for 2019 was 0.682, putting the country in the medium human development category. Moreover, the country is in a unique position, as one of the world’s newest major oil producers, and significant growths in economy are projected as the country’s oil and gas industry expands.
Nonetheless, Guyana’s disaster risk management architecture continues to benefit through international cooperation, as the nation has fostered relationship with many of our international counterparts and seen support in disaster prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts. The most recent examples of this were seen following the floods of May/June this year (2021) where the country received humanitarian aid, and technical support for the conduct of a Detailed Damage Sectoral Analysis and a Damage and Loss Assessment through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean respectively, which greatly aided national stakeholders in assessing the levels of impact and recovery needs within those Regions which were most affected by the floods, namely Regions 2, 5, 6, 7 and 10.
The Government of Guyana is committed to continuing and strengthening international cooperation partnerships for Disaster Risk Management, recognising the intrinsic role this can play in building the country’s resilience. Guyana remains grateful for the support we have and will receive through these relationships with our global partners and is also willing to extend our capacities to other nations in support of their DRR mechanisms as needed.
The Office of the Prime Minister, and by extension, the Government of Guyana, proudly joins with our international stakeholders in 2021’s observance of the IDDRR, and avails this opportunity to iterate our steadfast commitment to embrace collaborative actions, including multilateral and bilateral assistance, transfer and exchange of DRR related technology, science and innovation, and capacity building, to elevate local hazard management and ensure the safety and protection of all Guyanese from natural and anthropogenic hazards.