National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment Kickoff Meeting

National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment Kickoff Meeting
Remarks by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers

Good morning.  Mr. Deputy Prime Minister, distinguished guests, colleagues, and friends — It is a privilege to be here today to speak about such an important matter affecting not only The Bahamas, but countries around the world.

With each passing year, natural disasters bring about new record-breaking losses, which cause serious economic setbacks and the tragic loss of life.  For vulnerable archipelagos like The Bahamas, these types of setbacks have the potential to be even more impactful by exacerbating economic and social inequalities for generations.

These risks are real and substantial, with very serious consequences for the people of our countries. It is therefore essential for us to work together to build resilient societies capable of responding to and recovering from natural disasters.

That is why I am honored to stand side-by-side with the Deputy Prime Minister to recognize the commitment of both our countries to the safety and security of our two peoples through The National Disaster Baseline Assessment, a pivotal partnership initiative between The Bahamas and the University of Hawaiʻi’s Pacific Disaster Center.

This initiative brings together our governments, universities, and public-private sector partnerships to cooperate on one of the most challenging issues of our time.  By bringing together experts from across sectors, we can bridge gaps in knowledge to reduce risk and find solutions to responding to crises.  This international model for cooperation demonstrates how we can leverage shared resources and expertise to build capacities and strengthen stability.

It also fosters collaboration and brings about a greater understanding of the dimensions of risk necessary for evidence-based decision-making, policy development, and determination of areas for investment.  Furthermore, the partnership reflects the priorities set forth by the United Nations’ Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The research and data produced through the baseline assessment can be integrated into decision-making at all levels of government.  These advanced new capabilities will also allow The Bahamas to monitor and evaluate risk reduction efforts over the long-term to achieve its Vision 2040 National Development Plan goals, as well as meet its commitment under the Sendai Framework.

Together we are breaking new ground and providing an example for the world as we work together to build a safer, more resilient Bahamas for the next generation.

Thank you.