CDEMA is the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. This is the new name of the regional disaster management body formerly known as CDERA, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency which operated from 1991 to August 2009. The official date of transition from CDERA to CDEMA is September 1, 2009.

CDEMA replaces and advances the work of CDERA and fully embraces the principles and practice of Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) which is an integrated and proactive approach to disaster management. CDM seeks to reduce the risks and losses associated with natural and technological hazards and the effects of climate change to enhance regional sustainable development.


Governance Mechanism of CDEMA

When one speaks of “CDEMA”, this refers to the region-wide organisation.

CDEMA comprises:

  • The Co-ordinating Unit, which is the CDEMA secretariat, headquartered in Barbados
  • 18 National Disaster Organisations, one in each of the participating states
  • A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), comprising the 18 heads of each National Disaster Organisation. The TAC serves in a technical advisory capacity and makes recommendations to the Management Committee of Council (MCC)/Council on the Agency’s Work Programme, Administrative Budget and any other major policy decisions required
  • Management Committee of Council which is the supreme policy making body.

It comprises the Heads of Government of the participating states and meets annually to review the work of the agency, approve its Work Programme and Administrative Budget and make any other major policy decisions required.


Functions of CDEMA

  • Mobilizing and coordinating disaster relief
  • Mitigating or eliminating, as far as practicable, the immediate consequences of disasters in participating states
  • Providing immediate and coordinated response by means of emergency disaster relief to any affected participating state
  • Securing, coordinating and providing to interested inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations reliable and comprehensive information on disasters affecting any participating state
  • Encouraging –
    • The adoption of disaster loss reduction and mitigation policies and practices at the national and regional level
    • Cooperative arrangements and mechanisms to facilitate the development of a culture of disaster loss reduction and
  • Coordinating the establishment, enhancement and maintenance of adequate emergency disaster response capabilities among the participating states


Sub-regional focal points

To better deliver an efficient response, the 18 CDEMA Participating States are grouped into four-sub-regions, each of which is headed by an operation unit known as a Sub-regional Focal Point. The functions of each focal point are to:

·      Acquire and maintain, on an updated basis, comprehensive information on the facilities and services available in each of the participating states for which they bear responsibility;

·      Maintain and test communications with the Coordinating Unit and critical response agencies under the control of national relief organizations on a regular basis;

·      Maintain independent fuel and power supplies and ensure that relevant physical facilities are in a condition to withstand a major disaster;

·      Keep and maintain an equipment package in serviceable and optimal working condition. This package will contain essential items determined by the Board of Directors, subject to the approval of Council.



The 18 territories that are members of CDEMA are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Republic of Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Haiti and Suriname.



Membership is not restricted to the English-speaking Caribbean. The agreement establishing CDERA makes explicit provision for any Caribbean State to apply for membership.

Applications for membership are to be submitted to the Coordinating Unit. Admission is subject to approval by the Council on the recommendation of the Board of Directors.