OAS funded Nevis Disaster Management & Mitigation Project gears up

Project coordinator of the Organisation of American States (OAS) funded
“Nevis Disaster Management & Mitigation Project”, Lester Blackett, attended
a Project coordination meeting at the General Secretariat of the OAS in St. Kitts
on Tuesday 27th April.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Starrett Greene, OAS representative for
St. Kitts & Nevis. Participants from various agencies in St. Kitts and Nevis
reported on the implementation of their projects for the previous project
cycle (2009 – 2010). The projects included a Reading Assessment Project,
Preschool to Primary School Transition Programme, Itrepreneurship Project
and a
Rural/Agro/Eco Tourism Project.

Revised work plans and the status of planning for upcoming new projects
for the 2010 – 2011 project cycle were presented and discussed. These
included projects on Anger Management, Online Education Management
Information System and Disaster Mitigation and Management Project, Nevis.

The Disaster Management & Mitigation Project for Nevis was proposed under
the priority areas of the OAS Strategic Plan for Partnership for Development
with focus on Sustainable Development & the Environment and Sustainable Development of Tourism, namely:

•        Strengthening the capability of member states to identify and mitigate the risks of natural and man-made disasters, in order to mainstream
planning of both areas within economic development policies, working at the sector-specific levels with the private sector and civil society;
•        Supporting public-private collaboration in human resource capacity-building in the sharing of scientific information, best environmental
management practices, regulatory standards and enforcement issues, and encouraging the use of information and communication technologies in
support of sustainable development;
•        Ensuring that disaster planning is also extended to the area of tourism, as part of the OAS’ multi-sectoral approach to reduce the impact of
natural and man-made disasters on member states, by developing mechanisms to prepare for and recover from disasters affecting tourism
infrastructure, particularly in small economies, as well as ensuring visitor safety and security.

The Nevis Disaster Management Department will provide leadership in the area of risk reduction and disaster mitigation. Given the impact of climate
change and the frequency of disasters in the Caribbean regions, coupled with the limited availability of external funding, it is essential that all
Government agencies and Civil Society embrace this important theme and  ensure that risk reduction is allocated a primary role in planning,
development and the implementation of projects.

The current Nevis Disaster Plan is significantly outdated and needs urgent revamping as well as the development and enhancing of staffing skills,
personnel and inter-agency support. The formulation of policies, guidelines and regulations and assessment capabilities for essential stakeholders
and agencies including Economic Planning & Development; Physical Planning, Natural Resource and Environment; and Tourism are also expected
outcomes from this project. These agencies are partners in this multi-agency and multi-sectoral project whose purpose is to streamline disaster
management by focusing on pre-disaster management processes including mitigation; impact assessment capabilities; focused legislation; regulatory
standards; evaluation and enhancement of organizational capabilities; public awareness and the production of disaster management plans.

The project will:

•        enable the Nevis Island Administration to more accurately assess the impact of natural disasters on the economy and therefore the livelihood of
its citizens, in addition to providing base line data and useful information for future events
•        provide technical support and evidence for the government when making request for financial assistance from regional and international
organizations.
•        regularize planning processes by providing standards, regulations and guidelines
•        provide training in a number of areas including total impact assessment (natural hazard, environmental and economic) and in planning
development and control
•        provide information to the general public on all selected aspects relating to physical and economic planning and disaster management
•        provide equipment for use in various training programs and for use in disaster management situations
•        provide significantly enhanced Disaster Management plan, structure, policies and processes to the benefit of all stakeholders
•        enhance the vetting of development activities so that they can be sustainable for current and future generations, so that full economic and
social benefits can be realized
•        ensure that mitigation planning is integrated into all essential aspects of the institutional framework resulting in risk reduction measures
•        provide an essential tool (Intranet GIS system and database) which will facilitate multi-agency access and use of available information
•        enhance the capabilities of selected agencies through a review of the organization, identifying required skills/training to ensure the ability to
undertake appropriate mitigation activities
•        develop additional mechanisms to prepare for and recover from disasters which affect the tourism infrastructure and product
•        develop school based disaster programmes accessible to students, creating greater awareness and education.

The project is expected to be launch in May 2010 and to be completed by July 2011, a duration of 14 months.
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