Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Darren A. Henfield, upon invitation by the Government of Romania, recently participated in an International Conference on Building Resilience to Natural Disasters in Bucharest, Romania. Minister Henfield along with CARICOM Foreign Ministers and the Secretary-General of CARICOM H.E. Irwin LaRocque engaged in political dialogue, March 11-12, with H.E. Mrs. Ana Birchall, Romanian Vice Prime Minister/Strategic Partnerships; H.E. Mr. Teodor Meleşcanu, Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs; and other senior officials. The dialogue was followed by participation in the international conference, which was also attended by representatives of Asian and African countries.
During the conference, the delegations engaged with Romanian political and technical officials on lessons learned and sharing of best practices in coping with natural disasters. Discussions addressed the social, economic and environmental impact of natural disasters, damage mitigation, and the attendant cost of efforts to proactively build resilience to those disasters, particularly for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Minister Henfield, in his intervention, outlined the devastating impact of hurricanes on The Bahamas from as far back as the 1960s and shared the continual challenges of infrastructural and redevelopment exercises faced by The Bahamas and its sister CARICOM countries. He underscored the importance of building resilience to withstand the impact of natural disasters. Other speakers provided corroborating information pertaining to their respective countries.
CARICOM Ministers thanked Romania, the current President of Council of the European Union for its leadership in promoting initiatives to build disaster resilience and its support in speaking out about the dangers of climate change. Minister Henfield was accompanied by former Ambassador to Haiti and the Dominican Republic Captain Godfrey Rolle, and Director of NEMA Captain Stephen Russell.