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Disaster Risk Management Benchmarking Tool Being Developed

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“Proactive Planning and Implementing actions

aimed at reducing vulnerability to natural disasters”

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 – The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has embarked on the development of a Disaster Risk Management Benchmarking Tool for the Caribbean. Through the B-Tool, senior government and private sector officials will receive relevant training in the use of the B-Tool.

The B-Tool is a self-administered instrument which helps governments and national agencies to evaluate the adequacy of current disaster risk management tools, list best practice recommendations and assess their country's overall readiness and capability to deal with the risk of disaster.

The USAID and the OECS will use this critical session to advance the usefulness and benefits of the B-Tool in an effort to gather high-level support for and national endorsement of the tool.

The Saint Lucia leg of the Caribbean exposure will begin here on Thursday June 28th, and will continue through to Friday June 29th 2007. The first half-day of the workshop will be held as a policy session to sensitise permanent secretaries, chairpersons of national disaster committees and emergency service officials of Saint Lucia to the B-Tool.

Following the half-day session with policy makers, the workshop will introduce the tool to an estimated twenty-five additional participants. These persons will represent the National Disaster Office, Utility Companies, Government Offices, private sector agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations.

The Saint Lucia workshop is the fourth in a series being hosted by USAID and the OECS Secretariat, with the first three held in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica in September 2006.

Similar to the previous workshops, the Saint Lucia session is being conducted as part of efforts to test drive the B-Tool, and gather recommendations on how it could be made more nationally relevant.

The OECS and USAID reiterate that their joint effort is built on a foundation of trusted collaboration and mutual commitment to measurably reduce the risk profile of the Member States of the OECS for natural disasters.

The two organisations anticipate that the training session in Saint Lucia will provide the country with an improved ability to benchmark its natural disaster risk.

The workshop is being championed by the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), headed by Ms Dawn French.

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