PHILIPSBURG:— On June 13th, Rodney Richardson, Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin, represented Sint Maarten at the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Crisis Preparedness and Resilience Workshop in Barbados.
The objective of the workshop was to take stock of lessons, challenges and major milestones in implementing recovery and reconstruction programmes throughout the Caribbean region and to identify key gaps and suggest improvements in the current approach to recovery programming.
The workshop was divided into four sessions. The first, to constructively reflect upon challenges and lessons learned with the objective of identifying what can be done better in preparation for the next hurricane season. The second, to discuss key processes that facilitate the implementation of recovery. The third, to share experiences on ongoing recovery programmes and to reflect on needs for improvement and using recovery as an opportunity to strengthen resilience in the region. The final session introduced key concepts of recovery preparedness.
Mr. Richardson shared information during his presentation on the status of the recovery programmes that have already been executed by NGO’s on Sint Maarten. For example, UNDP has implemented its “Cash for Work” programme that puts unemployed persons to work in the community in the area of debris removal. During the workshop, it was recognized that this type of programme is not unique to Sint Maarten and it has been successful in other countries as well.
“There are two key lessons that I have learnt from this workshop, the first is that in our future disaster preparedness planning, a recovery plan or recovery planning must be in place and ready to be implemented following any disaster,” said Mr. Richardson.
Policy Advisor Richardson continued, “A common phrase that was emphasized by most participating countries is, Recovery is not a sprint – it is a marathon – thus the emphasis should be on doing things better not fast in order to ensure resilience.”
The workshop provided an overview of the UNDP experiences in implementing recovery in similar contexts drawing on global best practices. Presenters also gave insight on the tools and services available for recovery programming and to integrate Build Back Better and Disaster Risk Reduction into recovery planning. Recovery is a complex process and requires a multi sectoral approach.
The mix of small & large countries like Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Sint Maarten, Cuba, Jamaica and Santo Domingo created a great forum for learning from experiences and best practices. In total, twelve countries from across the Caribbean region sent their representatives to the workshop and the consensus was that the UNDP workshop achieved its goal.
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