International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
The Americas   

The Greater Caribbean will meet in Haiti.

Port of Spain (October 23, 2007) – Delegations from 28 countries and several international organisations will meet in Saint-Marc, Haiti, from 14-16 November, for the first ever High-Level Conference on Disaster Reduction to be held amongst countries of the Greater Caribbean.

Recent years have proven the need for a regional vision which takes into account scant resources and the realities of heterogeneous actors with common interests and the Conference will allow for the exchange of experiences, lessons learnt and best practices, as well as determine areas of intra-regional co-operation, bearing in mind the sheer number of initiatives in the region and the economies of scale achieved by harnessing the wealth of complementary capacities which ranges from high-tech equipment and scientific knowledge to the low-tech but key experience fundamental at the community level.

The most tangible outcome of the Conference will be the adoption of a Plan of Action to guide the work of the Association of Caribbean States’ Special Committee on Natural Disasters over the next five years.

The Plan of Action will endeavour to translate the UN’s Hyogo Framework for Action into the realities of the Greater Caribbean and to this end, the organisers have counted on the collaboration of UNOCHA, UNISDR, IADB, UNECLAC, CEDERA, CEPREDENAC, IFRC, PAHO and UNDP.

Vulnerability to disasters including exposure to the effects of climate change, impact the sustainable development of all countries of the Greater Caribbean regardless of size and have a particularly negative effect on the most vulnerable socio-economic groups, severely hampering efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The Association recognises that assessing and reducing risk before investing in development at all levels of society will enable countries to become more resilient to natural hazards. In this regard, recognition of disaster reduction as a cross-cutting theme of sustainable development planning is paramount.