Comprehensive Disaster Management

Saving Lives and Property, Building Resilience in an Era of Climate Change

The Unity Labour Party Manifesto 2015
Table of Contents

Before the ULP government came to office in 2001, there was hardly any institutional or legislative mechanisms to address disaster preparedness and management.  There was a one-man, middle-level office which doubled up as Local Government Officer/Disaster Preparedness Officer; and the supportive law was an outdated colonial measure from the 1940s. It is the ULP government which established the National Emergency Management Officer (NEMO), inclusive of its permanent, well-staffed Secretariat/Headquarters, its many structured sub-committees, and forty-five District Committees, all under a broad-based National Emergency Council chaired by the Prime Minister; the supportive legislative framework, with a focus on comprehensive disaster management, was put in place. In the process, our government built out, in practice, a many-sided strategy for comprehensive disaster management.  Highly-trained professionals in this field lead NEMO as they interface in an on-going way with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management (CDEMA).

This Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy (CDMS) focuses on five main outcomes over the next five years:

✔ Reduced vulnerability of coastal zones, rivers/watersheds, public infrastructure and assets using risk management approaches which include climate change considerations;

✔ Improved comprehensive disaster management, legislative  and policy environment interventions through the leadership of priority sectors/ministries/departments;

✔ Improved community resilience to hazard;

✔ Improved disaster risk management planning in priority sectors;

✔ Improved national response and early recovery, supported by effective warming systems.

CDMS is thus integrated in every area of public policy and governmental activity; after all, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the most natural-disaster prone countries in the world.  This is a matter which touches our very existence as a country.

The ULP government has built up a sterling record in the preparation for, the management of, and recovery/rehabilitation from natural disaster, the latest example being our handling of, and response to, the natural disaster of Christmas Eve 2013.  There is an extensive bundle of practical hands-on interventions, including those concerning housing; sea, and river defences; roads and bridges; slope stabilisation, emergency shelters, emergency warehouses (Campden Park, Rose Hall, Georgetown, Bequia, Union Island); on-going engagements with civil society, Red Cross, the private sector, the public utilities, and communications systems, including the telecommunications companies.

The people know that before, during, and after a natural disaster, the ULP government is a safe and reliable leader and partner!

Global Climate Change is creating immense challenges, and in many instances causing havoc, to Mother Earth and her inhabitants.  St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), contribute very little to global warming yet we are on the frontline of the very damaging consequences of climate change. To St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Climate Change is an existential issue which goes to the heart of our very existence as a country.  For this very reason, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the OECS and CARICOM are at the forefront internationally in championing the cause of SIDS, in seeking to ensure the arresting of harmful climate change and the prodding of developed countries and those emerging economies which are largely responsible for man-made climate change to embrace meaningful climate change goals and to provide a sufficiency of resources to SIDS for adaptation and mitigation.  The Conference of Parties (COP) 21 to be held in Paris in December 2015 within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) is a vital staging post in the quest to adopt and implement a legally-binding agreement in combating climate change. We support this effort and will work to ensure that an agreement is enacted.

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