The Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Strategy officially adopted by the country almost a decade ago has been touted as the way forward for ensuring the achievement of sustainable development on the island.
Minister of Home Affairs, Freundel Stuart alluded to this today as he addressed the opening of a two-day seminar on Natural Disaster Mitigation now under way at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies.
He said: “It is now generally accepted that disasters, development and the environment are inextricably linked, and our ultimate goal as policy makers, economists, scientists, disaster managers and indeed human beings is to ensure that a delicate balance between our economic development objectives and environmental conservation strategies is maintained.
“Aware as we are of the plethora of hazards, both natural and man-made, which may from time to time affect our country, it is thought that this regionally defined and nationally adopted Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy should be the vehicle by which the national and regional landscape is transformed to effectively cope with the effects of such hazards, in order to ensure that their individual or collective impact does not become a disaster,” the Minister noted.
Minister Stuart, who is also Barbados’ Attorney General, told the delegates, who come from as far as Norway, that the island, like some of its counterparts in the region, “had continued to forge ahead with the enactment of disaster management legislation, which had enhanced institutional support for CDM program implementation.
“Locally, the enactment of the Emergency Management Act 2006 has provided a legislative framework which creates an enabling environment to execute disaster management and risk reduction policies,” he said.
He added that incorporated in the Act were provisions specifically targetted at ensuring the effective organisation and management of disasters and other emergencies. And, he said, these were based on the utilisation of sound scientific research and data to facilitate the making of informed decisions when dealing with risks associated with the identified hazards.
The seminar is organised by the University of the West Indies, the Coastal Zone Management Unit and the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Norway.