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Contact: NEMO


Bridgetown, Barbados, August 31, 2009 (CDEMA) - The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) will formally become the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) on September 1, 2009.


This change brings to fruition months of planning and represents the concretization of an organizational transition and strategic shift in focus from disaster preparedness and response to comprehensive disaster management.


The primary evidence of the transition is reflected in the organization's structure and mandate which has been widened to include the adoption of disaster loss reduction and mitigation policies and practices, at the national and regional level and cooperative arrangements and mechanisms to facilitate the development of a culture of disaster loss reduction.


Apart from a shift in mandate the new agency's governance structure will also be amended. The institution will be governed by a Council constituting the Heads of the Participating States, or their designate, but will be strengthened through the establishment of a Management Committee of Council (MCC). The technical platform of the agency will be strengthened through the involvement of specialized Regional Institutions in the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), who will provide diversified expertise in a variety of areas related to the science and policy of disaster management.


The Agency will now function with an increased membership of eighteen (18) Participating States to include Haiti and Suriname who have recently signed on to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency Agreement.


The organization has outlined a series of activities which will facilitate greater participation of its stakeholders in shaping coordinated strategic response to the reduction of disaster related losses in the region. Although acknowledged as a continuation of a process which commenced with the adoption of the Enhanced Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy, the Agency will continue to be governed by its mission and vision which emphasizes the need for an organization which is a "..leading, innovative centre of excellence, dedicated to building linkages for the promotion of a culture of reducing disaster losses in the region."


This view was emphasized by Mr. Jeremy Collymore the Agency's Executive Director who see the establishment of CDEMA to be a clear indication that Participating States are ready to embrace policy, systems and programmes that are appropriate for the rapidly changing risks to their development arising from the changing magnitude, frequency and costs of hazard impacts, the onset of climate change and other trans-boundary threats like pandemics. He urged the agency's staff "to recognize that the change in name is part of a wider process to ensure that we are more responsive to a very discerning community that wants be fully engaged in the risk reduction dialogue and actions."


For further information on the CDERA to CDEMA transition go to...

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