Rising coastal tourism spurs Jamaica to sign on for regional disaster project
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday, August 16, 2012 – Jamaica is one of 10 participating states in a project aimed at developing a regional monitoring and evaluation framework for the tourism sector in the Caribbean.
This framework is meant to contribute to the overall goal of reducing the vulnerability of the tourism sector to natural hazards and climate change.
Called the Regional Monitoring and Evaluation System for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation in the Caribbean Tourism Sector, the project is being executed by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in partnership with Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and the University of the West Indies. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded the project in the amount of US$750,000.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Jennifer Griffith, asserted that Jamaica was “fully convinced of the importance of integrating disaster risk management, climate change adaptation and tourism development. This is especially so as we have had significant expansion in recent years, and are constantly expanding our coastal tourism plant.”
Griffith gave this commitment while speaking recently at the opening ceremony of the first regional meeting for the project.
She pointed out that the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment recognizes both the importance and vulnerability of the sector and has therefore partnered with the Planning Institute of Jamaica and other Government of Jamaica entities to secure funding for shoreline protection in Negril. In addition, Jamaica was a part of the 2007-2010 IDB/CDEMA project, Regional Disaster Risk Management for Sustainable Tourism in the Caribbean.
CTO Sustainable Tourism Product Specialist, Gail Henry who also addressed the group, lauded the regional approach to solving climate and disaster related issues, and expressed the view that this strategic approach is how the gap between scientific research, policy making and developing practical tools and systems to address disaster management can be closed.
Deputy Executive Director of CDEMA, Elizabeth Riley, said “The CDEMA co-coordinating unit is pledging its support to working side-by-side with our Tourism sector partners in empowering this sector to drive the mainstreaming process.”
Natural Disaster Risk Management Specialist, Inter-American Bank, Barbados, Dr Cassandra Rogers, in her remarks stated that the IDB anticipates that the products generated from the project will lead to more informed prioritization of risk reduction and adaptation measures, and its application at the regional and national level to Caribbean Tourism.
Representatives from the beneficiary counties at the regional meeting held Wednesday, August 8 to Thursday, August 9, met to review modifications to the existing disaster management strategy and the plan of action document, which was developed with the support of the IDB in 2010.
Among the other countries participating in the project are Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana, Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos.