The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) recently concluded a training series that has equipped 113 disaster risk management professionals and sector specialists across the public sector to more accurately assess the economic, social and environmental impact of disasters to better inform recovery and reconstruction efforts. The most recent training involved 25 tourism and cultural sector specialists across the respective ministries and related departments and agencies.
Speaking at the opening ceremony at the final training session in Kingston on September 25, PIOJ Deputy Director General, Sustainable Development and Social Planning, Claire Bernard, informed participants that the training exercise was important given the country’s exposure to climate change hazards; the economy’s dependence on our environmental and cultural resources; and the need to build resilience through comprehensive recording of the impact of past disaster events. She further emphasized that Jamaica therefore needs to pursue Outcome 14 of the Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan which highlights disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change.
Major sponsor of the training, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), said member countries must have a robust capacity to assess damage and losses in the event of a disaster. Countries must be able to: adequately calculate the replacement value of totally or partially destroyed assets; loss of income due to temporary loss of damaged assets; overall impact of the damage on macro-economic performance; and the impact of the damage on livelihoods. The PPCR (Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience) Improving Climate Data and Information Management Project (ICDIMP), and UNESCO, also provided support for the workshop series.
The final workshop ran for four days (Sept 25–28) including a field exercise to Port Royal, which is a major cultural resource in Kingston. The participants were able to assess the risks to selected heritage sites, the UWI Marine Lab and the popular fishing village. The visit enhanced the lectures delivered by economist and Disaster Risk Management expert, Dr Asha Kambon, and UNESCO Culture Programme Specialist, Yuri Peshkov. The importance of the role of climate data and information in the Disaster Risk Management cycle, including recovery, was communicated to participants through a presentation from Senior Hydrologist at the Water Resources Authority, Michael Wilson.
Participants in the series included representatives from the Ministry of Tourism; the Tourism Product and Development Company; the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and; the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.
Mrs Gwyneth Harold Davidson
Tel No. (876) 935-5042/(876) 817-8077