Disaster Risk Reduction needs to take a more central position in the development process in Antigua and Barbuda.
That’s the message being sent on International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) being celebrated today.
According to Minister of Social Transformation with responsibility for disaster management, Hon. Dean Jonas, vulnerable developing states need to be proactive and capitalise on every opportunity to reduce risks. “It is not solely the government’s responsibility. The private sector and civil society also have a role to play but more specifically, citizens and all of us who share this space called Antigua and Barbuda have an individual responsibility to ensure that as we develop, we adhere to the guidelines that have been put in place for more resilient development”, said Minister Jonas.
Minister Jonas says tested and proven scientific interventions must be part of these developments if we are to see a reduction in the scale of impact when hazards affect us.
Director of NODS Philmore Mullin says the country has been making very slow strides in mitigating against risks that are common to our region. “We are not where most of us would like us to be given that we are a small society with limited resources and DRR is quite expensive. We have policies, we have legislation and we have seen some effort by some to reduce their risks for example the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA)”, said Mullin.
Mullin says that any new development should take into consideration risk reduction so that overtime the level of exposure to hazards will be reduced. It is anticipated that the country can have a body of stakeholders that will ensure that any development plan goes through a specific checklist that will guarantee this.
Through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the region’s focus has been on Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) where emphasis is placed on all hazards to which the region is vulnerable, all phases of disaster management and that there is involvement by everyone.