The text of the following joint statement was issued by the governments of the United States, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago following the Ministerial of the U.S.-Caribbean Resilience Partnership in Miami, FL on April 12, 2019.
Recognizing our collective vulnerability to natural disasters, affecting the lives and the economies of the people and nations of the United States and the Caribbean;
Whereas partnerships can build regional resilience through efficient and interoperable platforms, protecting people and speeding recovery; and whereas the United States and Caribbean partners, including Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago met on April 12, 2019 and affirmed their intention to deepen cooperation and investment to strengthen our disaster resilience throughout the Caribbean region;
Now, therefore, the United States and aforementioned nations of the Caribbean hereby launch the new “U.S.-Caribbean Resilience Partnership” to strengthen resilience within the Caribbean region on key issues of shared interest, and in furtherance thereof, intend as follows;
- To streamline early warning response networks and formalize communication channels;
- To enhance, encourage, and work collaboratively on further developing aviation disaster resilience plans and partnerships;
- To prioritize regional technical exchange in energy planning, risk reduction, and resilience;
- To increase communications network interoperability between Caribbean partners and the United States;
- To utilize storm surge mapping data and share real-time information in preparation for potential damage resulting from tropical cyclones and tsunamis;
- To use meteorological services to strengthen and deepen physical and communications infrastructure, data collection networks, and human and technical capacity throughout the region, as well as interactions with the public.
- To understand that while the use of international and military and civil defense assets in disaster response may only be considered as a last resort—when local, national, and international civilian capabilities are overwhelmed—civil-military coordination should occur, in support of the affected nation;
- To develop a framework that would govern the deployment of international military and civil defense assets in disaster response when local, national, and international civilian capabilities are overwhelmed, in support of the affected nation;
- To seek common mechanisms for ensuring rapid disaster response and recovery, including waiving or expediting diplomatic clearances, waiving of or reducing customs fees, streamlining overflight and airspace clearance, and ensuring that the first responders have the ability to rapidly respond to disasters in other countries;
- To promote the integration and coordination of regional response mechanisms in the Caribbean, including through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, the Regional Security System, U.S. Government Agencies, and Allies in ways that facilitate more effective and efficient planning, mitigation, response, and resilience to natural disasters.
- To share best practices in improved building codes with national disaster organizations, including building better programs, at regional, national and community levels;
- To promote community-based disaster preparedness and mitigation activities, particularly in underserved communities, with the aim of increasing broad public participation and resilience;
Further, through the establishment of a new U.S.-Caribbean Resilience Partnership Working Group, the United States and participating Caribbean countries intend to seek to coordinate and operationalize ongoing and future efforts across all countries in the region; identify and resolve gaps, best practices, and lessons learned; and find innovative solutions through reducing risks from disasters and jointly increasing resilience.