Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Jamaica to host historic Disaster Risk Conference next year

Published:Wednesday | December 18, 2019 | 12:06 AMLeon Jackson/Gleaner Writer


With climate change gaining ground as a major global development concern, Jamaica will host a historic Disaster Risk Conference in Montego Bay in July.

Making the announcement while addressing a town hall meeting in Falmouth last weekend, Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie described the planned conference as a first of its kind for the Caribbean.

“For the first time, a conference of this nature will be held outside of the Americas. Jamaica is the smallest country to ever be the host,” said McKenzie.

A total of 60 countries with 1,600 delegates are scheduled to attend.

According to McKenzie, preparations for the conference will begin next month and will entail a public education campaign, which will be spearheaded through the schools and the Social Development Commission.

“A new feature of the conference will be the involvement of young people. They will have a whole day to express themselves to the delegates on what disaster means to them. They will also be singing a song to be titled Disaster is Our Business’,” added McKenzie.

The minister said that the Government and the nation’s young people would be critical to the dissemination of information and the risk disaster presents.

“Our education drive will be taken to the smallest of children,” said McKenzie. “They must know how to recognise disasters and how to respond when faced with it. It must be impressed on them that disaster can cripple the tourism industry, which is a major foreign exchange earner.”