Working Group Conference for the U.S. Caribbean Resilience Partnership: Building Bridges to Reach A More Resilient Future
23rd to 24th October, 2019
The Bahamas was represented at the Working Group Conference for the U.S. Caribbean Resilience Partnership: Building Bridges to Reach A More Resilient Future in Bridgetown, Barbados from 23rd to 24th October 2019, by a delegation comprising Captain Stephen Russell, Director of the National Management Agency of The Bahamas and Foreign Service Officer Ms. Sherry Johnson Deal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This Conference which was facilitated by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Cynthia Kierscht, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State and Deputy Assistant Administrator Barbara Feinstein, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), USAID, brought together 18 Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago) the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Regional Security System (RSS), international donors, and non-governmental partners, including universities and the private sector.
The working group assessed disaster resilience needs and proposed next steps to better coordinate efforts regionally. This event built on the Inaugural Meeting of the Partnership, which took place on the 12th April, 2019, in Miami, Florida, where the Hon. Darren A. Henfield, Minister of Foreign Affairs, led The Bahamas’ delegation.
The United States Government under its U.S.-Caribbean 2020 Agenda is committed to advancing security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education, and health in the Caribbean. In keeping in line with this commitment, it was announced at the opening ceremony that as a part of this ongoing effort, the United States will be providing $1.5 million to increase disaster preparedness and resilience under the U.S.-Caribbean Resilience Partnership.
It was also announced that this partnership aimed to strengthen U.S.-Caribbean cooperation and advance greater resilience to withstand the impacts of climate change, natural disasters, and extreme weather events by leveraging American and Caribbean innovation and expertise. Funding will support technical exchanges and consultations between U.S. interagency resilience experts, ministries, and disaster management officials from the Caribbean region.
As one of the highlights of the Conference, Captain Stephen Russell presented on The Bahamas’ efforts on disaster resilience: lessons learned about advanced planning for recovery and identifying gaps. Same was well received by participants and added to a fruitful panel discussion on resilience moving forward.
At the conclusion of the Conference, regional best practices and recommendations were proposed to improve risk awareness, to strengthen hazard mitigation and climate adaptation efforts, to enhanced community and infrastructural resilience, to bolster coordination in regional disaster response and to enhance planning for post-disaster recovery including economic recovery, inter alia.
Following the closing ceremony, participants were driven to a work site in Holetown, Barbados, for the purpose of seeing first-hand the adaptation measures to counter the effects of climate change, more specifically, water resource management and flood resilience.