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UTech, Jamaica Collaborates with the OAS-Government of Chile for Course on Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Management

University of Technology | 2018-11-07 12:01:00

The University of Technology, Jamaica has collaborated with the Organisation of American States (OAS) through its partnership with the Government of Chile for the delivery of a short course on Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Management for Member States who are also members of the Caribbean Community.  The short course is intended to strengthen the capabilities of CARICOM Member States in the areas of Disaster Risk Management, Climate Change Adaptation and building climate resilience.

A special welcome and opening ceremony for the 25 scholarship recipients drawn from eight OAS Member States in CARICOM (Barbados, Guyana, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica) was held on Monday, November 5, 2018 at the Technology Innovation Centre, UTech, Jamaica Papine Campus.

The Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Management course developed by the University’s Faculty of The Built Environment is being delivered over six days from November 4 – 10, 2018 at the Papine Campus.  The course instructor is Professor Balfour Spence, Professor of Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies, Brandon University, Canada.  The programme is being coordinated by Dr. Claire Sutherland, Senior Director, International and Institutional Linkages, Office of the President, UTech Jamaica.

In his welcome, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, President, UTech, Jamaica expressed gratitude to the OAS and to the government of Chile for partnering with the University for the delivery of the scholarship programme. Professor Vasciannie pointed to the historically adverse social and economic impact in CARICOM countries resulting from the common threat and occurrence of natural hazards such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes which are being exacerbated by the phenomenon of climate change.  He said that UTech, Jamaica was therefore “pleased to be lending our knowledge and expertise through this disaster mitigation course which will serve to enhance learning and build the capacity in CARICOM countries to respond to these threats.”

His Excellency Francisco Bernales, Ambassador of Chile to Jamaica and to the five other Caribbean countries of the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda, told the gathering that “international cooperation for development is one of the foundations of Chile’s foreign policy,” adding that “CARICOM has a special importance for my country, especially in relation to natural disasters and capacity building.”   Ambassador Bernales noted that the Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Management course will enhance participants’ knowledge and provide useful tools that will help them and their governments “to apply the adequate hazard mitigation tools and to execute effective emergency responses.”

OAS Resident Representative, Jeanelle van GlaanenWeygel in her address to the course participants who all serve in the area of emergency response, disaster risk management and climate resilience at the national and community levels in their respective island states, highlighted that with development as one of the 4 key pillars of the OAS,  “the organization works through results based programming to strengthen institutional and human resource capacity within OAS Member States, based on their needs.”

Ms van GlaanenWeygel noted that the OAS promotes partnership for development to overcome the traditional aid-oriented approach by instead seeking to develop cooperation programmes based on partnership, “without attempting to impose models, but rather supporting the economic and social measures taken by our Member States, particularly those measures to combat poverty.”  She added that “our approach focuses on horizontal and multilateral cooperation, as well as the participation of communities, academic institutions, civil society, other social actors and the private sector in solving problems.”

She underscored that the education and training opportunity offered by the OAS-Government of Chile/UTech, Jamaica Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Management course is “aimed at reducing the vulnerability of communities to climate-related hazards, building their resilience, and ultimately to sustainable development.

Posted By :Michelle Beckford

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