Africa-Press – Seychelles. The Disaster Risk Management Division (DRMD) hosted two meetings recently for stakeholders on Praslin and La Digue.
On Praslin, the meeting was held at the Grand Anse community centre and at La Digue Island Lodge on La Digue.
The division is currently going through a period of transition, and with the new vision to be the centre of excellence for disaster risk management among small island developing states, the division sees it as imperative that dialogue with stakeholders is initiated to guarantee engagement and secure everyone’s ‘buy-in’. In view that the inner islands are often side-lined when it comes to consultation, the DRDM saw it fit to commence consultation there.
The meetings were initiated by the director general, Robert Ernesta, for his team to meet with partner organisations whose work has a close link with that of the DRMD on both islands.
Representatives from organisations such as the health authorities, Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA), department of Local Government, department of Environment, NGOs such as Trass and the business community were present.
Both meetings kicked off with a presentation by the head of operations at DRMD, Daniel Cetoupe, who enlightened the participants on the division’s mandate, functions, structure, priority areas and strategic goals for the next 10 years.
The other presenter was Shirley Joubert, coordinator from the Environment department who talked about the forest fire contingency plan for Praslin and flood contingency plan for La Digue.
Following the presentations there were plenary sessions, during which the participants had the opportunity to ask questions and express their concerns vis-à-vis risks in their districts.
Some of the main points that came out were the confusion over the exact mandate of the DRMD, lack of public awareness and education in regards to the work of the DRMD, coordination during emergencies and national events and limited resources before, during and after emergency events.
In addition to addressing the concerns of the stakeholders, Mr Ernesta also urged everyone to think about the contribution they can extend in regards to an integrated risk management approach for their respective islands.
He also made a commitment to return for follow-up interactions with those who participated in the first meeting to ensure continuity and accountability.
In general, the division is satisfied with the turn-out and participation of the attendees.