The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has started discussions with Cuba on advancing disaster risk reduction cooperation agreements, particularly on streamlining Cuba’s response and relief support within the Regional Response System.
According to a press release, CDEMA Executive Director Jeremy Collymore made this announcement following a meeting at the CDEMA Coordinating Unit with Cuban Ambassador to Barbados Lissette Perez.
Collymore said the meeting was following up on commitments made from the Declaration of the Fourth Caricom-Cuba Summit held in December in Trinidad and Tobago to deepen cooperation and broaden partnerships in areas of mutual interest and benefit to the populations of the region. The declaration highlighted the vulnerability of the region to natural disasters, adverse weather patterns and climate change.
The meeting looked specifically at how the groups will proceed on advancing the DRR components. “CEDMA will undertake a programming mission in April as a first step in elaborating the cooperation programme. The Mission will bring together officials from the relevant technical agencies to develop a two-year cooperation programme and identify modalities for financing,” Collymore said. He also said that he welcomed the opportunity to engage in talks with Cuba on disaster risk reduction and believed significant lessons could be learnt from both sides.
In giving her comments, Perez said preparation is key to the effectiveness of Cuba’s system against adverse weather which allows it to evacuate vulnerable people in a few hours and reduce the loss of lives and property. “The preparation before these phenomena occur, the integrity of the participation of society in this effort, and the conscientiousness of the individual preparation are the core elements of our experience,” she said.