Caribbean man heads world disaster management

Jamaican-born Ronald Jackson.
Photo by George Alleyne

A Caribbean man is now in charge of the world’s drive for developing strength against, and reducing risks from, disasters while positioning territories across the planet to quickly resume normal life following such catastrophes, either natural or manmade.

He is Jamaican born Ronald Jackson who last month end resigned his position of Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), to take up a post as Director of the United Nation’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery for Building Resilience Team (DRT), in Geneva.

Jackson is credited with taking Caribbean resilience against natural and other disasters to a higher level during his seven years at the Barbados-based CDEMA office, steering the region through many of the devastating cyclones that hit the Caribbean almost every year, including Tropical Storm Erika in Dominica in 2015, Hurricanes Irma and Maria that hit nine countries in 2017, Hurricane Dorian in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in 2019.

At his time of leaving for the post in Europe he was coordinating Caribbean social protective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic now affecting the world.

Since he left the job of Jamaica’s Director General of Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management to lead CDEMA in 2013, Jackson has been credited with providing “outstanding leadership to the CDEMA Coordinating Unit and in the implementation of the Agency’s policies and programmes,” according to the regional organisation.

He is recognised for gaining for CDEMA further recognition and prominence globally as one of the foremost regional disaster risk management institutions and a preferred partner for a safe and more resilient Caribbean.

“His commitment and advocacy in promoting and advancing the implementation of the Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy and Framework for the Region, has captivated many audiences across the globe, resulting in a significant increase of resources through donor financing support to the implementation of Disaster Risk Management programs in participating states,” according to CDEMA.

“He led the development of the Caribbean Pathway to Resilience and spearheaded its socialization within the region and among the Americas. Mr. Jackson was also instrumental in the strengthening of cooperative arrangements with the Disaster Management Organization in the Dominican Republic, with the French Overseas Territories and the Dutch Caribbean. CDEMA’s Membership also increased from 18 to 19 under his stewardship,” the agency stated.

“This is a bitter-sweet moment for me. I am excited at the opportunity to be able to practice in a global capacity but I feel a sense of duty to the Caribbean community and as such a part of me will miss working in a context that inspires innovation. However, I feel that I am leaving behind a wonderful platform for the continued advancement of the Region’s Integrated Risk Management Agenda and the continued growth of the agency,” Jackson said.

His new job description calls for authoritative technical knowledge of sustainable development along with disaster risk reduction and recovery. And he is responsible for providing leadership and substantive direction to team members located in the headquarters, the regional hubs and relevant global policy centers.

Jackson will lead his worldwide team in developing and strengthening programs for disaster and resilience; risk governance for reducing disaster risks; risk information, early warning and preparedness; urban and community risk management and resilience; and recovery preparedness, assessments and implementation.

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