Bahamas represented at Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) Chairman, Mr. Alex Storr, (left foreground), and Mr. Aarone Sargent, DRA Managing Director, at the Sir Lynden Pindling International Airport Thursday (February 23) as they prepare to travel to Punta del Este, Uruguay, ahead of the VIII Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP23). (BIS Photo/Denys Gomez)

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the Hon. Myles K. LaRoda, led a disaster risk reduction team to the VIII Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP23). The Regional Platform will be held February 28 to March 2 in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

State-Minister LaRoda departed New Providence Friday, accompanied by Mr. Carl F. Smith, Permanent Secretary, the Office of the Prime Minister’s Disaster Management Unit and Miss Caitlin Taylor, Technical Associate, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Mr. Alex Storr, Chairman of the Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA), and Mr. Aarone Sargent, Managing Director, the Disaster Reconstruction Authority, are also attending the Session. Mr. Storr and Mr. Sargent departed New Providence Thursday.

Hosted by the government of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction – Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean, the VIII Regional Platform represents an opportunity for governments, inter-governmental bodies, private sector, civil society, scientific-technological communities, youth, cooperation agencies and donors, as well as other relevant stakeholders in the Americas and the Caribbean, to exchange experiences and facilitate decisions on the Regional Action Plan for the implementation of the Sendai Framework in the Americas and the Caribbean.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015-2030 is a 15-year global agreement to reduce, prevent and respond to disaster risks across the globe. It aims to strengthen social and economic resilience to disasters caused by natural, biological and technological hazards, which are further exacerbated by climate extremes and slow onset events.

Adopted by UN Member States at the Third UN World Conference in March 2015, the Framework recognizes the primary role of states in reducing disaster risk while highlighting that responsibility should be shared with local governments, the private sector and other stakeholders.

Regional Platforms such as the VIII Regional, are multi-stakeholder fora that reflect the commitment of governments to improve coordination and implementation of disaster risk reduction activities while linking to international and national efforts. It is because of all of these attributes that officials say it is of utmost importance that Disaster Risk Reduction planners, managers and technical persons, attend the Session.

The Agenda will includePlenary Sessions / High-level dialogues, which will aim at connecting global discussions with regional priorities. The event will have numerous Parallel Sessions that will cover important aspects for the implementation of the priorities of the Sendai Framework and the Regional Action Plan in the region. Organizers say these sessions are important to share learning and exchange best practices in disaster risk reduction of multiple stakeholders across sectors. The VIII Regional Platform will also host aMinisterial Meeting, in which Ministers and High-Level Government representatives of different sectors take stock of the challenges and opportunities as well as mark the priorities for the implementation of the Sendai Framework in the region for the next two years.

Discussions are expected to centre on areas such as: Risk governance: Innovation for Policy and Multi-Sectoral Coordination to Reduce Risk Drivers; Low Cost solutions and traditional knowledge to increase community resilience; Lessons for Sustainable and Resilient Development; Science and Technology for Integrated Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation, and Multi-Hazard Warning Systems, among others.

Attendees are further scheduled to participate in a number of Side Events, Learning Labs and an Expo Event that have been scheduled ahead of Tuesday’s Opening Plenary Session.

Officials say investing in disaster risk reduction (including attending sessions such as the Uruguay event) can help save lives and money. The RP23 is a further step in disaster risk reduction that will result in better living conditions for the region.

“Investments in DRR not only curb disaster losses. They also yield economic, social and environmental benefits that enhance the well-being and resilience of countries and communities,” said Raúl Salazar, chief of UNDRR – Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean.

“The RP23 will be a key event for the region, as it takes place right in the mid-term of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030), so it will serve not only to review regional progress, but also to look at the main challenges in building a resilient future. Along with Uruguay, we will build a space to design policies to strengthen comprehensive risk management and the development of multi-hazard early warning systems in the region.”

Mr. Sergio Rico, national director of the National Emergency System (Sinae) of Uruguay, said: “Disaster risk management policies and practices must be based on a comprehensive understanding of risk. Such knowledge is essential for pre-disaster risk assessment, for prevention, for mitigation once risk occurs, and for the implementation of appropriate preparedness and response measures to effectively and comprehensively address emergencies and disasters. And for all these issues, technology is a key element. This is why in this eighth edition we will focus on technological issues,”

Mr. Storr said the Regional Platform presents participants and participating countries with an opportunity to deepen dialogue around common issues, to capitalize on experiences, and to exchange best practices and lessons learnt, that can be beneficial for all.

“Having the ability to exchange best practices and share lessons learnt, can help to decide the best way forward for all,” Mr. Storr said.