The British Virgin Islands is performing exceptionally well in disaster recovery but needs to improve its building laws, the United Nations (UN) has said.
“It is clear that a significant amount of effort has been paid to improving the disaster recovery elements following the impacts from 2017. However, the weakest area lies within mitigation where greater attention should be given to the non-structural and structural elements, more specifically – enforcement of land use planning laws, provision of incentives, and development of stronger building standards,” said UN consultant Dr Rose-Ann Smith.
Dr Smith made the remark as part of her preliminary findings of an audit she is conducting on the territory’s Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme.
The audit is being done to determine whether the BVI meets the standards set by regional and global frameworks such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The audit is seeking to assess six key areas of the BVI’s disaster management programme. These areas are governance, education and information, training and exercises, warnings and alerts, finance and administration, and community resilience.
The UN consultant is said to have visited the territory last week to ‘make final assessments and verify information from a number of sectors in the areas of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery’.
Her initial assessment said the BVI is ‘performing very well in a majority of the sectors’, especially in the area of recovery.
The assessment is being conducted using an audit tool developed by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, more commonly known as CDEMA.
The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction is funding the audit.
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