Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Dr. Taleb Rifai, says a resilience recovery centre will be established in the Caribbean.
Dr. Rifai, who was addressing a special session of the UNWTO Global Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James, on Monday (November 27), said the centre will be tasked with creating, producing and generating toolkits, guidelines and policies to handle the recovery process from the minute a crisis takes place.
“It will have a regional mandate and will act as an international pilot that will benefit the world,” he informed.
The centre will also “be responsible for preparedness planning, how to deal before the crisis happens… and, how to communicate and deal with the crisis after it happens”, he explained.
Dr. Rifai said that while the UNWTO may not be the best qualified agency to bring in physical and material aids for crisis-stricken countries, the entity will do its part in ensuring that “they do the more important work of making sure they act responsibly and intelligently in solving the problems and issues in a very logical way”.
“Courses of nature are continuously testing and challenging our people and their livelihoods. Challenging times demand clear vision, strong collaboration and decisive action… we are all in this together. We need to work together to strengthen this message and address the perception issues that, in many cases, tend to go far beyond the reality on the ground,” he posited.
For his part, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the resilience centre represents an institutional arrangement that will allow the Caribbean to track and assess global disruptions and will be more responsive to such events.
He said the facility will be connected to the University of the West Indies (UWI).
He called on partners such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Organization of American States (OAS), Japan Investment Council (JIC) and other multilateral companies “to work with us in creating this centre, so that we can secure resilience within the Caribbean, and to ensure that our economies that are so tourism-dependent will not be obliterated by global shocks and global disruptions as are going to happen from time to time”.