Region must make disaster risk reduction policies national priority
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Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips
Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips

–Prime Minister Phillips says

PRIME Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, who is performing the functions of President, said that governments within the Caribbean must place disaster risk-reduction policies as national priorities and mainstream disaster risk management into all aspects of their countries’ developmental efforts.

He made this appeal during his remarks, on Thursday, at the Seventh Regional Platform Meeting for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Americas and the Caribbean.

“Over just a few months, our Region has been faced with an earthquake which has devastated our brothers and sisters in Haiti, volcanic eruption which has created complexed emergency response challenges for St Vincent and the Grenadines and surrounding islands, and persistent floods, which have had severe impact on our productive sector in Guyana, Suriname and other parts of South, Central America and the Caribbean…our assignment now is to get ahead of the curve,” Prime Minister Phillips said.

The acting Head of State highlighted the government’s drive to make the necessary changes.

Phillips said: “A few days ago Guyana launched our Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030. A strategy that is intended to map Guyana’s new growth trajectory, guiding the management of our rich natural resources in line with sustainable development goals.

“This strategy is supported by our Comprehensive Disaster Management Country Work Programme 2021-2025, an important tool to guide our country’s continued and increasing investments in DRR. Together these frameworks form the undercurrent of our development thrust.”

He added that as the country with the fastest-growing economy within the Region, Guyana is well aware that securing its economic future means investing in sustainable climate action.

“Guyana has ongoing major investments to strengthen sea defence infrastructure in vulnerable coastal communities.

“There’s also extensive enhancement of road networks to support sustainable development with a view of enhanced evacuation planning. Rehabilitation of drainage and irrigation systems to reduce flood risk is also ongoing,” Prime Minister Phillips said.

The Seventh Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean was aimed at raising awareness about the increasing challenges faced by Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) with regard to enhanced natural disasters stemming from the effects of climate change.

The four-day event, which concluded on Thursday, was themed “Building Resilient Economies in the Americas and the Caribbean.” (Office of the Prime Minister)

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