Caribbean Officials, Partners Discuss Hurricane Preparedness

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Caribbean officials and their international partners met this week to discuss hurricane preparedness amid predictions that the 2024 season will be the worst on record.

Seventy representatives from Caribbean regional and national disaster management agencies, chambers of commerce, and representatives from international organizations and multinational companies attended the three-day meeting.

The theme was: “Building Public-Private Partnerships for Disaster Resilience in the Caribbean.”

A United Nations Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean release said the meeting’s objective was to establish precise mechanisms between the private sector, government, and humanitarian and development partners at national and regional levels before disasters strike.

United Nations Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Simon Springett, highlighted the urgency of doing so.

“Relationships and procedures must be put in place now, ahead of a crisis, so that when we are in an emergency situation all stakeholders already know what to do and how to coordinate their efforts,” Springett said.

Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Elizabeth Riley delivered opening remarks to the gathering.

“This is a particularly significant opportunity as we continue navigating the complex multi-hazard environment that necessitates robust partnerships to build safer, more resilient, and more sustainable countries,” Riley asserted.

Participants shared regional and global best practices in public-private cooperation and tested disaster response protocols.

They also developed a common agenda for integrating and scaling up private sector engagement in disaster preparedness, humanitarian coordination, response, and recovery.

They plan to implement the protocols during the upcoming hurricane season, revising and expanding them to cover a wider range of humanitarian emergencies in the coming months.

The United Nations has expressed its commitment to supporting local and regional leaders in their efforts to strengthen the resilience of Caribbean peoples and societies.