Time: 8:30-9:45

Session lead: Mirtha L. Escobar, Operations Officer, World Bank (202-250-1056) or mescobar2@worldbank.org


  • Dr Raed Arafat  – Secretary of State and Head of the Department of Emergency Situations – Government of Romania, representing European Union
  • Stefan Kossof – Head of DFID Caribbean
  • TBD – Development Cooperation for the Caribbean, High Commission of Canada

Biographies of Moderators, speakers and panelists

Moderator: Nahuel Arenas García.

Nahuel Arenas is the Deputy Chief of the Regional Office for the Americas & the Caribbean of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). During the last 20 years, Mr. Arenas has led humanitarian assistance interventions, DRR programming and development cooperation in more than 30 countries around the world. Before joining UNISDR, Mr. Arenas occupied the position of Director for Humanitarian Programs and Policy for OXFAM USA. He has also worked for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Action Against Hunger (ACF), consulted for UN-Habitat leading learning processes around DRR programming and contributed to many academic programs including the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Course: Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disasters. He has a background in Public Policy (FLACSO) and International Politics (SOAS, Univ. of London) as well as degrees in Crisis Management (Universidad Complutense of Madrid).

Opening Remarks: 

Ronald Jackson is the Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). Prior to this appointment, he was the Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Jamaica, a position he held since August 2006 until March 2013. He previously served ODPEM as Deputy Director General, Senior Director of the Preparedness and Operations Division and as Regional Coordinator for the Southern parishes. He has been extensively involved in disaster management at the national, regional and international level in various capacities. At the national level, he lent his expertise to the coordination of the national response to the impact of Hurricanes Charlie, Ivan (2004); Dennis and Emily (2005); Tropical Depression 16 and subsequently Tropical Storm Nicole (2010) and most recently Hurricane Sandy (2012). He has been instrumental in the development of the Guidelines for Child-Friendly Disaster Management and Response, Reinstatement of the ODPEM Dedicated Communication Network and Revision of the Emergency Welfare Plan.  Prior to his appointment as Executive Director, he was a member of CDEMA’s Technical Advisory Committee, President of the IDB Caribbean Policy Dialogue Forum, the co-chair for the Inter American Network for Disaster Management and represented the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Member States on the Hyogo Framework for Action Mid-Term Review Committee and Post-2015 Hyogo Framework for Action Committee. Mr. Jackson holds a Master of Science Degree (M.Sc.) in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Resource Management from the University of the West Indies and a Bachelor of Science Degree (B.Sc.) in Physical Planning and Environmental Resource Development from the University of Technology.

 Panelist: Raed Arafat is the Secretary of State and Head of the Department for Emergency Situations for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Romania. 

Beingspecialized in anesthesia and critical care and having a European Master in disaster medicine, Dr. Raed Arafat is the founder of Mobile Emergency Service for Resuscitation and Extrication (SMURD), that was established since 1990. Starting with 2007, he coordinated the activity of many institutional structures and strategic programmes for Emergency Situations, among them: Healthcare System for Emergencies and Disasters in the Ministry of Health, as well as the Department for Emergency Situations that coordinates the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, General Inspectorate of Aviation, Emergency Medical Services and Mountain Rescue in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Dr. Arafat has a wide experience in operational coordination of emergency services, he participated and organized numerous training courses and seminars in the field of emergency medical care, control and coordination of emergency services, emergency management, etc. On the same line, Dr. Arafat is a member of several scientific and professional organizations in the field of emergency medicine and disaster medicine (both at domestic and international level), as well as author and co-author of several textbooks, books, documents and articles.  Dr. Raed Arafat received academic titles and distinctions conferred by prestigious, national and international organisms, such as Legion of Honour at the class of Chevalier offered by the President of France, International Emergency Medicine Leadership Award from American Academy of Emergency Medicine, National Order For Merit at the class of Chevalier and Officer offered by the President of Romania for the whole scientific and research activity, for the outstanding contribution to the development and promotion of information technology and communications in Romania.

 Panelist: Benoit-Pierre Laramée, Senior Director of the Caribbean Regional Program, Global Affairs Canada.  

Mr. Laramee is also the Canadian Director to the Caribbean Development Bank. Joined the City of Montreal after nearly 10 years working as a geophysicist in Canada and Senegal. In 1996, at the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation, he was appointed regional director for Guinea and two years later was assigned to Bamako, where he served as regional director for West Africa until 2000. From 2000 to 2004, Mr. Laramée worked with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where he held two director positions. In 2004, he returned to Ottawa to become manager of CIDA’s Results-Based Management Unit, a position he held until 2007, at which time he was appointed senior departmental assistant to the minister. From 2008 to 2011, he was director of CIDA’s Inter-American Regional Program. He was then appointed as High Commissioner in Cameroon, with concurrent accreditation to the Central African Republic and Gabon. From 2015 to 2017, Mr. Laramée has been High Commissioner in Bangladesh. Since September 2017, as Minister Counsellor in Bridgetown, he is holding the positions of Senior Director, Caribbean Regional Programme and Canadian Director to the Caribbean Development Bank. Mr. Laramee education background includes (BSc [Geological Engineering], Polytechnique Montreal, 1979; DESS [Energy Sector Management], HEC Montreal, 1988; MSc [Project Management], University of Quebec at Montreal, 1990).

Panelist: Sebastian Eugster, Deputy Head of Division Europe, Asia and Americas for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Sebastian Eugster is Deputy Head of the Division Europe, Asia and Americas within the humanitarian aid department of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), where he oversees at head-office SDCs humanitarian programme in Latin America and the Caribbean. Sebastian joined SDC in 2003 and has worked over 9 years on DRR in Central Asia (Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan) and the Latin America (Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru). He holds a MSc in Geography from the University of Berne (Switzerland).

Panelist: Stefan Kossoff is Head of DFID Caribbean and UK Director to the Caribbean Development Bank.

Stefan joined DFID in 1999 and is a professional specialist on governance issues. Prior to this role, he was Head of Profession for DFID’s 120-strong governance cadre. Stefan has worked on many of DFID’s country programmes in Africa and Asia, including long-term postings in Tanzania and Jerusalem. He has also led teams working on governance policy, research, and multilateral effectiveness.


Session lead: Mirtha Escobar works in the World Bank as an Operations Officer in the Urban and Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Unit for the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Mirtha professional focus is on project management and the implementation of innovative financing mechanisms for climate change adaptation and mitigation. In her current role, Mirtha supports the implementation of the Catastrophe Risk Insurance Program in Central America and the Caribbean and provides operational advisory support to other DRM projects in the region. Before joining the DRM unit, Mirtha worked as an Analyst in the Climate Change unit, supporting the implementation of Climate Finance initiatives, the design of performance-based mechanisms, and the development of capacity building programs for indigenous people and civil society organizations. Before joining the World Bank, Mirtha worked the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Oceana Inc, in the design of public-private initiatives for landscape and ocean conservation finance. She has an undergraduate degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Natural Resources Management and Climate Change from Virginia Tech University.

Graphic Recording Artist:  Emma Ruffin

Graphic Recording Artist:  Emma Ruffin. A lover of problem solving, Emma employs systems thinking and permaculture design principles (certified twice-over) into her everyday work, art and play. She currently serves as the director of Boulder.Earth, a site that connects people and organizations for collective impact on climate action, and is the founder of Desert Raven Design, a company focused on creative consulting, graphic recording and design. In the past Emma served as a fellow with MIT’s Climate CoLab Program, and currently serves as curator with the Global Shapers Boulder Hub, an initiative of the World Economic Forum driven by 20-somethings dedicated to creating positive change in their communities.