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Prime Minister's Remarks at CDM Youth Launch


Thursday, February 27, 2014 5:45 PM - George's, Grenada
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ST.GEORGE'S, GRENADA, February 27, 2014 - GIS:

Dr. The Rt. Hon. Keith C. Mitchell
Prime Minister
CDM Youth Champion Competition Launch
And
Declaration of Grenada’s CDM Champion




Sisters and brothers, all… Good morning.


Let me first express my sincere gratitude for the recognition here today, as the “CDM Champion” for Grenada.

In my view, while this is a tremendous honor, it is bigger than Keith Mitchell. It is a challenge that I wholeheartedly accept, on behalf of my team. It is a challenge that speaks to this Government’s commitment to enact and implement policies to protect and develop our most treasured resources. It reminds us of the work yet to do in ensuring that we create a viable society.

THE CDM DECLARATION

Our commitment to CDM’s initiatives was manifested last November when Government signed a declaration to give full support to Comprehensive Disaster Management.

It was our pledge to develop and implement our local CDM policies and structures. It is not just lip service, ladies and gentlemen. This government walks the talk.

The signed declaration places us in the lead role in the region in Disaster Management.


Comprehensive Disaster Management speaks to our intention to develop all aspects of the disaster management cycle: prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. It encompasses all our sectors—public and private, with the understanding that survival is everyone’s business.

Living as we do in vulnerable societies, our focus has to be on building awareness, disseminating information in a timely manner, and on preparedness.
We must accept that we are at daily risk for natural disasters; therefore it is important for us to ensure that even our most marginalized citizens are ready when disaster strikes.

While we cannot prevent any disaster, we can certainly do everything we can to ensure that the damage to life and property is minimized.

This government understands that, and I feel confident that all our social partners understand it as well, and will work along with us, as they have in everything else.

Nowadays, our emphasis cannot only be on preparation for hurricanes. One has only to look to the occurrence of recent bizarre weather patterns around the world:
from the series of floods in the United Kingdom, to extremely cold winters in traditionally mild areas of the United States; to the spate of earthquakes and tsunamis in areas like South East Asia, and even to the relatively mild earthquake that we experienced in Grenada a little over a week ago.

Weather patterns have changed, and we have to accept that and change our strategies for survival.

In recognition of that principle, and the economic and social benefits of being adequately prepared for the occurrence of any disaster, the government has assumed the responsibility to enhance resilience of our people and communities.

We take it as an obligation to promote the implementation of CDM strategies throughout the length and breadth of not only our country, but the wider region.

This is why I accept the challenge that comes with being the CDM champion.
This is me, pledging to be an ardent advocate of its implementation. I do not take it as a fulfillment of a mission, but as a work in progress.

I will not rest until I am comfortable that every area of our society is structurally sound to withstand any hazard.

My team has undertaken a commitment to do the following:

- Support the building of the CDM Institutional framework for Grenada, which includes

· Legislation and Regulation – The Ministry of Legal Affairs is currently reviewing the Draft CDM Model Legislation and making recommendations with a view to adapt for Grenada

· CDM Policy and Strategy – NaDMA is currently working with CDEMA to develop the CDM Policy for Grenada which should be completed by September 2014

· Multi-year Results Based Work Programme – NaDMA is working with CDEMA to develop a five-year Country Work Programme (CWP), which will address the pertinent issues of climate change and adaptation.

We will continue to harness the requisite human resource skills and technologies to ensure effective implementation of the CDM.

Our ultimate goal is to create a sustainable and resilient region, in all aspects of our development—because face it, sisters and brothers, disasters affect every aspect of our lives and societies—economic, social, educational, environmental.
Every plan we implement in disaster mitigation is a dollar saved in recovery efforts.

Even more than that, there is no price on a life saved.


Our small, export-dependent countries already face significant challenges in development.

For this reason, we cannot delay in embracing the opportunities presented with the onset of new technologies and rapid changes currently on the global market. We cannot afford to be left behind. The existence and continuance of our societies depend wholeheartedly on our ability to change with the times and to confront the challenges.

The region therefore, must do all that it can to encourage investment in competitive enterprises and technologies, including measures to reduce risks to the investment and the infrastructure on which it depends.

Grenada knows firsthand the challenges presented by natural disaster. We have had to crawl our way up from the bottom of the barrel. We have had to build back better.

Let us therefore learn from those experiences, and use them as a roadmap; not only in ensuring our long term viability and sustainability, but also that of our region’s.

This is why we empathized and accepted the call for action in assisting our brothers and sisters in the neighboring isles when unexpected devastation struck in the midst of our most festive season last Christmas Eve.

My friends, disaster preparation and relief is everyone’s business. It is regional business.

In 2004, it was Grenada; Christmas Eve it was St. Vincent, Dominica and St. Lucia; tomorrow it can be any of us.

We cannot be myopic in our view in implementing a Comprehensive regional disaster strategy nor in our economic realities.


CDM YOUTH CHAMPION COMPETITION


The National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA), and by extension, our Government, firmly believe that our young people must be at the center of any strategy we implement.

Our youth must be engaged as a vital part of the civil society mechanism in building the resilience of our communities and creating a culture of safety.

With the support of the private sector, Government therefore pledges to support the CDM Youth Champion Competition among the secondary schools in Grenada for another year.


It is a competition that seeks to increase awareness of Comprehensive Disaster Management within secondary schools and communities; sensitize students, teachers and community residents on measures to reduce disaster risk; and raise awareness on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.


It is my view that we are on the right side of history when we wholeheartedly support such initiatives that seek to place our youth at the forefront of our disaster awareness and preparation efforts.

By so doing, our youth are taking responsibility for their own existence and continuance; and true to our word, we will give them the tools to do so.

So, my dear sisters and brothers, I thank you for your declaration here today, and I accept the challenge.

I declare to you, that I will spare no effort in creating a safer Grenada, for generations to come.

 

 

 

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