JAM | May 15, 2023

Public consultation on Jamaica‘s Disaster Risk Financing Policy starts today

/ Our Today

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Buildings devastated in the aftermath of the 1907 earthquake that levelled Jamaica’s capital Kingston. (Photo: Caribbean Photo Archive for

The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service kicks off its series of public consultation on Jamaica‘s National Natural Disaster Risk Financing (NNDRF) policy this afternoon (May 15).

The ministry will be engaging thousands of Jamaicans in a series of public fora, beginning in the Clarendon capital May Pen, at the Old Police Station on 50 Main Street. The NNDRF policy is Jamaica’s guide to disaster risk financing, and is aimed at minimising the fiscal impact of disasters on the national budget, the economy and society.

It also serves to ultimately enhance the country’s economic resilience to natural disasters. The first of four sessions, which will give average Jamaicans an opportunity to voice their opinion, concerns and questions on the policy.

Policy acts as an insurance coverage

The sessions will feature an outside broadcast on Irie FM and will include a live performance from recording artist, Agent Sasco. Trevor Anderson, principal director of the Fiscal Policy Management Branch at the ministry, explained that the policy acts as an insurance coverage for Jamaica in the case of natural hazards including weather events and earthquakes.

According to him, “the advent of this policy is a game changer for the National Budget, as the risk of significant slippages, arising from a natural disaster, has been mitigated through the use of financing instruments”. He explained that “disasters such as Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, not only resulted in loss of lives and property, it also negatively impacted the fiscal accounts, resulting in a higher debt burden.”

With such disasters at the forefront of the policy, the policy will serve as a tool to address deficiencies in how the budget responds to the impact of natural disasters as well as promote a risk-layering approach to Disaster Risk Financing (DRF) that facilitates access by the GOJ to one or several pools of resources based on the severity of the natural disaster.

In addition, to building financial and disaster risk resilience, the policy also addresses the budgeting process for disaster risk financing as well as building institutional capacity for disaster risk financing.

The next stops on the ministry’s public consultation sessions is St William Grant Park in downtown Kingston on May 17, with an outside broadcast on ZIP103 FM; followed by Sam Sharpe Square on May 24, 2023, with an outside broadcast on Mello FM and a performance from recording artist Laalee.

Additionally, the public consultation sessions will culminate on May 26, in Mandela Park, Half-Way Tree, St Andrew with an outside broadcast on Edge 105 FM and a performance from recording artist Laalee. All sessions will commence from 4:00 pm to 8:00 p.m.

This NNDRF Policy represents Jamaica’s enhanced financial resilience with respect to addressing the aftermath of natural disasters.


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