We, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry and our Disaster Risk Reduction Committee, mark International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction this October 13th 2019.
Disasters caused $165 billion of economic losses worldwide last year according to estimates from Swiss Re. Total losses from natural catastrophes in 2017 and 2018 combined were the highest ever over a two-year period. This year we have witnessed the effects of Hurricane Dorian, the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Atlantic, and the devastation it inflicted on our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas. Beyond the economic costs are the human tragedies and social turmoil which have significant impact on our small developing island states, setting our sustainable development goals years back in time.
Barbados and our Caribbean neighbours must be prepared for the new normal as the effects of climate change alter global weather patterns and exacerbate the impact of storms and drought. We must create more resilient societies, building our homes, communities and infrastructure in a risk-informed manner, securing food and water resources through more resilient supply chains, and ensuring that our preparedness and recovery plans are comprehensive and cohesive within both public and private sectors.
We welcome the dedication of the Government of Barbados and our Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Mia Amor Mottley who has escalated the call to action at a national level, and raised our region’s voice globally at the recent United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit. With strong leadership and urgency directing our efforts, and commitment to adapt within every community, business and home, we in Barbados can be assured of a secure, resilient nation prepared for whatever uncertainties the future holds.
The Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry continues its efforts to develop a more resilient private sector and implement the Declaration of Understanding between ourselves, the Department of Emergency Management and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. Our theme for the coming year is Moving from Awareness to Action and we will be working to develop a cohesive disaster response and recovery plan between private sector agencies, advancing regional cooperation and knowledge sharing with our partner Chambers, bolstering private sector disaster readiness and response with support on continuity planning, and public/private sector cooperation building resilient supply chains through memorandums of understanding with essential resources and services.
This International Day of Disaster Risk Reduction we offer our condolences to those who have lost loved ones to disasters, and speedy recovery to those that work to rebuild. The Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry and our Disaster Risk Reduction Committee wish to ensure that those losses are never forgotten, and our region, and its communities rebuild stronger learning from the past to secure a more certain future.
Article By: Gregory Rose, Chairman of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce, Disaster Risk Reduction Committee & Chief Executive Officer, Lynch Insurance Brokers Ltd.