January 30, 20121004Views

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

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

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.