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Monday, 10 May 2010

Caribbean Region not using ACP-EU funds

Two of the most disaster-prone regions regions are not making full use of the funds available through the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU). Ambassador Valeriano Diaz, head of the delegation of the European Commission to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, said of the organisation’s six regions, the Pacific and the Caribbean were most prone to natural disasters and should be able to “mobilise” the need for funds. He was speaking at the Disaster Risk Management Sub-Regional Programme Launch at Manor Lodge, Green Hill, where $1.8 million euros, ($BDS5.4 million) were made available to the Caribbean. The funds are being allocated to help strengthen the building capacity within the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and allow those organisations to be better prepared to respond to natural disasters, as well as bolstering their capacity for sustainable development planning.The ambassador said very often funds were there but were not being used, and while the ACP-EU was being replenished with $165 million euros, it was up to the various agencies to show “performance”. “Access to funds is based on performance, and very often the funds are there but are not used . . . but while the money is still sitting there, they also need to show how what is available is being used,” he stated. Diaz, who stressed that updates on how programmes were progressing needed to be more timely, noted that specific results should include the development of a model evacuation policy; facilitate the adoption of the model evacuation in at least one country; provide basic community emergency equipment; establish community profiling; and review and enhance response planning in the region. Executive director of CDEMA, Jeremy Collymore, said the recent disasters showed the need for reinforcements of a Comprehensive Disaster Management strategy. He said it was hoped that the funds would help to reduce the vulnerability levels of selected communities and provide technical, institutional resource and capacity building assistance to Caribbean ACP states. “The need for redundancy, diversity and decentralisation in our response systems has been highlighted. The project provides us therefore with an opportunity to target action in these areas,” he said. Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Judy Thomas, reassured Diaz that timely updates would be given on how the money was being spent. However, she urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to give the department the capacity to deliver when it accepted funds from such organisations.

Source: Moontownbarbados.com