CARBICA, the Caribbean Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives

  • /
  • Print

Caribbean Heritage Emergency Network Adopted

Resolution adopted by participants CARBICA working conference to form a Caribbean Heritage Emergency Network (CHEN)

The Caribbean Branch of the International Council on Archives (CARBICA) recently organized a Working Conference called "Regional approaches to Disaster Recovery and Heritage Preservation" on St. Maarten (July 30 - August 2, 2018). At this Conference it was agreed upon to protect documents, artifacts, built and intangible heritage against natural disasters. 

In 2017, hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria left a trail of destruction in the Caribbean region. Particularly on St. Maarten, Dominica and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, have caused serious damage. The cultural heritage, unique and irreplaceable, has also suffered damage. Precisely because this is unique and authentic material, which forms the memory of the islands, it is important to protect them well, and in case of damage - to restore professionally. After the hurricanes of 2017, CARBICA provided first aid in the form of financial support and organized a fact-finding mission in which a professional paper curator from Curaçao was sent to the islands. 

There appeared to be a great need for a more permanent network of professionals who could help the affected areas. The network of professionals should also be able to prepare the islands with Disaster Preparedness training. To this end, CARBICA has taken the initiative to establish a Caribbean Heritage Emergency Network (CHEN). The network will fall under the CARBICA organization and will consist of a Dbase of professionals who are willing to provide training and carry out response missions in affected areas.

A Resolution was adopted by the participants of the Working Conference to form this network. As a result CARBICA installed a Working Group to carry out preparatory work to actually launch the CHEN in early 2019 at the General Assembly of CARBICA.

In addition to CARBICA, the Working Conference was also made possible by sponsorships from the International Council on Archives (ICA), UNESCO, Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands), the Gerda Henkel Foundation (Germany) and the government of Saint Martin. It is worth noting that the Caribbean Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Agency (CDEMA) also participated in the workshop.

The following islands participated in the working conference: St.Maarten (French and Dutch part), Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Saba, Suriname, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, Puerto Rico.




Whereas the Caribbean Branch of the International Council on Archives (hereafter CARBICA) was actively involved in the response to the cultural heritage needs of Caribbean territories affected by the severe passage of hurricanes during the 2017 season;

Whereas in response, CARBICA with the support from the International Council on Archives (hereafter ICA) and other agencies, conducted a needs assessment survey, combined by training sessions and consultations in affected territories;

Whereas CARBICA, in partnership with the ICA, UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund, Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland/OCW, Gerda Henkel Stiftung, and the Government of Sint Maarten organized the training conference “Regional Approaches to Disaster Recovery and Heritage Preservation” 30 July to 2 August 2018 for International and regional policy makers, emergency responders and cultural heritage stewards to 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;

Whereas having considered the 2017 Addendum to the Strategy on the Reinforcement of UNESCO’s Action for the Protection of Culture and the Promotion of Cultural Pluralism in the Event of Armed Conflict that corresponds to the four priorities for action of the 2015 Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, applied specifically to culture; now therefore

Be it resolved that CARBICA

  1. Seeks to promote and facilitate the continued collaboration between heritage protection stakeholders and partnerships emanating from the circumstances of the 2017 hurricane season;
  2. Calls for EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST in establishing a CARIBBEAN HERITAGE PRESERVATION NETWORK—an initiative of CARBICA, as a collaborative network of stakeholders and service providers committed to strengthening the Caribbean’s cultural heritage community, before, during and after disasters through an organized communication system, as well as coordinated activities and services in the field. The main goals are to respond in times of crises to the heritage preservation needs of Caribbean territories and encourage training and support for the stakeholder institutions of Caribbean heritage for the most critical periods of need;
  3. Invites other relevant Caribbean professional networks to collaborate and contribute to mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery activities of the proposed Caribbean Heritage Preservation Network;
  4. Encourage Governments and all relevant cultural and disaster risk management organizations and institutions at all levels, including CDEMA, to develop policies and mechanisms for culturally-aware and informed approaches to disaster risk programmes and activities, with explicit involvement of the cultural heritage sector for relief and recovery operations, and
  5. To establish a working group to continue the development of the network.

Philipsburg, Aug. 2, 2018

↑ Back to top

Also in this Section...