Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has called for the payment of outstanding dues to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), holding its 13th Council of Ministers Meeting in Saint Lucia.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has mandated CDEMA to provide leadership to participating states regarding disaster risk management.
But Prime Minister Pierre noted that despite its efforts, the CDEMA unit continues to struggle to finance its administrative requirements to fulfill its mandate.
He said this included optimum staffing.
“Though the coordinating unit is on the path to developing a more sustainable financing mechanism, the activities to put this in place will require a decision and thereafter another two to three years to be completed,” Pierre disclosed.
In this regard, he strongly encouraged advocacy in the participating CDEMA countries for payment of outstanding contributions to the organisation to continue its essential work.
Citing the recent passage of Tropical Storm Bret, Prime Minister Pierre declared that climate change is real, highlighting the need for CDEMA.
“The impact of climate change is real, and if there was a need for CDEMA and joint action, the time is now because, as the scientists say, it will only get worse, as evidenced by Bret,” the Saint Lucia Prime Minister told his audience.
He recalled that Tropical Storm Bret was the first such weather event in a long time to occur in June.
Pierre noted that, as a result, there was a greater need for climate mitigation and adaptation.
“These events highlight the importance of our renewed regional focus on resilience and recovery,” he stated.