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Extensive damage in Sint Maarten, hours after Hurricane Irma made landfall. (Photo Wikimedia Commons | Netherlands Ministery of Defense)
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Extensive damage in Sint Maarten, hours after Hurricane Irma made landfall. (Photo Wikimedia Commons | Netherlands Ministery of Defense)

Caribbean Conference ‘Disaster Recovery & Heritage Preservation’

Caribbean Conference ‘Disaster Recovery & Heritage Preservation’

Caribbean Conference ‘Disaster Recovery & Heritage Preservation’

The Netherlands Commission for Unesco proudly presents the international working conference Disaster Recovery & Heritage Preservation. This working conference focusses specifically on the Caribbean region and is held at Sint Maarten from 30 July to 3 August 2018. 

The Working Conference is organized by the Caribbean Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (CARBICA) and is open to heritage professionals from the whole Caribbean region working with different types of heritage, ranging from archives to built heritage. 

Why this working conference?

International and regional policy makers, emergency responders and cultural heritage stewards will meet for the first time following the catastrophic hurricane season of 2017 to exchange priorities and methods that will ensure the best possible outcomes for the regional protection, not only of people and property but also of cultural heritage. 

Disaster mitigation

CARBICA will co-host the conference to bring together a broad array of experts in the field of disaster mitigation. The theme of the conference aims to bridge the gap between civil authorities and cultural stewards to place heritage preservation squarely in the forefront of both planning and practice. Heritage professionals from various Caribbean islands will share their own experiences; international experts will provide practical planning & response techniques; regional agencies will discuss policy and practice. 

Debate

The need for a workshop on disaster preparedness and response was emphasized during the Hague debate Heritage after Irma on 12 February 2018, organized by the Nexus Program of the Leiden University and the Netherlands Commission for Unesco. Experts, such as Mr. Jay Haviser, director of the archaeological centre on Sint Maarten and Ms. Rita Tijen Fooh, chairperson of CARBICA shared their experiences with cultural emergency response, following the hurricanes Irma and Maria last year. During the discussion various points of action were raised to mitigate risks to cultural heritage. In addition to more training in the field of cultural emergency response, the need for a professional regional network of first responders was raised. Since the debate the Netherlands Commission and Blue Shield Netherlands have been closely working with CARBICA on the realisation of this first working conference.