Roseau, Dominica – August 13, 2008…….. The new Vulnerability Assessment Benchmarking Tool (B-Tool) which is designed to equip public and private persons with the skills required to plan and implement effective actions that could reduce Dominica’s vulnerability to natural disasters and improve its economic resilience will be the focus of a two-day workshop starting on Thursday.
For the vast majority of Dominicans the widespread destruction inflicted by Hurricane David is a real lesson of the rapid reversal of socio-economic prosperity by a natural disaster. Hurricane David as well as the other range of natural disasters over the last few decades have forced regional authorities to fully appreciate that the Caribbean is very vulnerable to natural events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes and flooding.
Furthermore, it is now recognised that in order to achieve economic sustained growth, the public and private sectors in the region must formulate and implement tangible actions to measurably reduce the region’s risk profile for such natural disasters.
The new Vulnerability Assessment Benchmarking Tool (B-Tool) has been developed by the OECS Secretariat with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The OECS and USAID view this vulnerability assessment instrument as a significant milestone in disaster management in the region. Donor agencies also view this instrument as a guide in the identification of vulnerabilities in the OECS Member States and therefore appropriate allocation of resources.
The B-Tool is a useful resource for governments and private sector organisations as it provides them with the ability to measure their state of readiness, response mechanisms and their capacity to mitigate against disaster risk.
An output of the workshop will be a national action plan for integrating the B-Tool into risk management strategies and a new national assessment of the country’s vulnerability profile.
The regional launch of the B-Tool took place in Saint Lucia during the opening session of the B-Tool Training of trainers’ workshop. The B-Tool was officially endorsed at the 11th Meeting of the OECS Ministers of the Environment. The Ministers further recommended that implementation of this instrument be given priority by Member States.
In addition, the OECS Heads of Government at their 46th Meeting agreed to facilitate its national adoption. To advance this mandate, the OECS Secretariat in conjunction with the USAID funded Caribbean Open Trade Support Project (COTS) and the Spatial Systems Caribbean Ltd, UWI, has been assisting Member States in the conduct of national training workshops for representatives of private and public sector agencies as well as members of the national B-Tool committee.
The workshop will take place in the Conference Room, Office of Disaster Management, Jimmit on Thursday, August 14th and Friday, August 15th 2008, beginning at 8.30am.
Participants at the workshop will include officials from the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Telecommunications, Ministry of Community Development, Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy and Ports, Ministry of Finance, Attorney General’s Chambers, Physical Planning Division, Financial Institutions, Insurance Companies, Environmental Coordinating Unit, Utility Companies, Dominica Colgate Palmolive, Dominica Police Force among other public and private sector stakeholders.