Monday, January 30 – Key governmental stakeholders met at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) on Friday 27th January, 2012, to assist in the design of a Harmonised Protocol to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) into the national emergency management services of OECS states.
Phase One of the Comprehensive Disaster Management Harmonized Implementation Programme (CDM HIP) involved the selection of Arturo Lopez-Portillo Contreras by the OECS as consultant to lead the development of a standardized protocol among its participating states. In his opening statement, Mr. Lopez-Portillo, a 26-year disaster management specialist who has served in over 30 countries, said, “One of the objectives of the meeting is to familiarise stakeholders with the draft harmonised protocol that would be utilised in Caribbean countries and as part of the CDM HIP. The OECS is developing a harmonised protocol ensuring that all general Disaster Management components are considered including environmental and gender issues.”
CDM HIP Phase One, a five-year project, is expected to be implemented in 18 participating states, including the Virgin Islands, and will run until March 2013. The long term overall impact of this programme is to achieve regional sustainable development by reducing losses in our region and to improve disaster management coordination at the national and regional levels.
During the meeting, assessments focused on disaster risk management and hazard vulnerability reduction at the national and regional level. The goal of the assessments was to achieve strengthened coordination between the environment and National Disaster Offices’ strategies and programmes, and make clear the need for enhanced coordination and communication among entities. Group discussions emphasized designing a harmonised protocol for Disaster Management, a similar protocol for Disaster Response and outlining a strategy for integrating Disaster Management into National Emergency Management Services.
Representatives were present from the Conservation and Fisheries Department, Development Planning Unit, National Parks Trust, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Office of Gender Affairs, Town and Country Planning and the DDM. All contributions were recorded and catalogued for integration into the protocol and strategy.