Jamaica gives green light to establish policy on national disaster risk financing

By CMC

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Dr. Nigel Clarke

(CMC) –The Jamaica government says it is taking a proactive approach towards the development of a policy on National Disaster Risk Financing.

A statement from the Ministry of Finance notes that the policy is set against the backdrop that between 1993 and 2003, Jamaica suffered from 26 natural disasters which resulted in total losses and damage of US$2.22 billion.

“The government has taken a proactive approach by laying the groundwork for the drafting of a policy that will see Jamaica being more independent and responsive when disasters strike,” Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke said, adding it would allow Jamaica to become more independent and responsive when disasters strike.

“The practice of shifting budgeted resources from planned activities is imprudent and we have taken another step in the right direction with this policy initiative,” he said.

The development of Policy on Natural Disaster Risk Financing is expected to create greater transparency and efficiencies in the mobilisation and execution of public expenditure to manage disaster risk.

Critical components of the policy will include provisions for the establishment of contingency fund to be dubbed the National Catastrophic Disaster Reserve Fund to assist Jamaica in developing fiscal resilience to natural disasters.

The approval for the development of the Policy on National Disaster Risk Financing comes ahead of a public forum by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and the World Bank on ‘Facing the Fiscal Risks of Natural Disasters’ later on Wednesday.

The one day forum is aimed at contributing to a national conversation on strengthening resilience and advancing disaster risk financing.

World Bank Vice-President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jorge Familiar and Clarke will deliver the feature address at the forum that will also discuss managing risks in the context of the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters and the rising impact of climate change.

“Jamaica, like other Caribbean states, is highly exposed to extreme weather events and climate risks. Natural disasters have cost Jamaica an estimated US$1.2 billion between 2001 and 2010. The damages and losses from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 alone exceeded US$350 million. The impact on people’s lives is can be severe, and it is often the poorest that suffer the most from these shocks which are frequently followed by income and productivity losses,” the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

It said that other speakers at the event include Major Clive Davis, Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management; Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Director for the Caribbean and Constant Lonkeng Ngouana, International Monetary Fund Resident Representative here.

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