Expenditure on disaster risk reduction must be seen as an integral part of sustainable development and not as a cost by Government, but as an investment.
This view was expressed Tuesday evening by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, on behalf of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who was at the time co-chairing the Third CARICOM-Mexico Summit, in Mexico.
During the presentation on Public Investment in the area of Disaster Risk Management, Senator McClean told her audience: ???The national, regional and international contributions from a variety of sources to disaster risk reduction are very much appreciated. But, they can never cover the full cost of the required expenditure on disaster risk reduction.
???In the final analysis, no caring and accountable government could shirk the responsibility of public investment in Disaster Risk Management. This is the message that I would like to leave with our gracious host and all those participants of this conference who may still be in the process of deciding on their priorities for sustainable social and economic development.???
She said unplanned development and poverty exacerbated the effects of hazards, noting that disasters generally discriminated against poor people and exposed infrastructure.?????If, however, development in any jurisdiction is to be sustainable, it must take into consideration the need to also reduce disaster risks. Any unsound development policy or programme can increase the risk of disaster in any area of development and result in greater expenditure on repairing the damage done,??? she pointed out.
Senator McClean stated that since the 1940???s, the Barbados Government had invested in disaster risk reduction through decisive interventions and she listed some of them as the establishment of a national disaster office, an Emergency Management Act, participation in the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, and the Barbados Catastrophe Fund.
She stressed that in a highly inter-related and rapidly globalising world, collaboration with regional and international agencies was vital for the survival of small island developing states like Barbados.??According to her, with better information on climate change and the risks of disaster, informed decisions could be made to reduce the threats.??
She added that participation in the deliberations of regional and international agencies bring enormous benefits to governments, including access to financial and other resources. ???It is for these reasons that the Government of Barbados has committed itself to full participation in the regional and global discourse on climate change and disaster risk reduction,??? she declared.