Caribbean people realise that their culture and cultural heritage are valuable and significant and must be safeguarded. As a result, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in partnership with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) hosted a workshop in March 2020 on Disaster Resilience in the Caribbean’s Culture Sector.
The workshop was held in Barbados and delegates from most countries in the Caribbean attended. It was an opportunity for partners in the Caribbean’s culture sector, disaster management agencies, humanitarian/ non-profit agencies and other stakeholders to collaborate and share ideas on disaster resilience in the culture sector.
Building Disaster Resilience
This workshop is a part of UNESCO’s Culture in Emergencies programme. It was a unique event that sought to highlight the importance of building awareness of how disasters can affect culture. Dr. Hilary Brown, Programme Manager of Culture and Community Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, commended the initiative and reinforced CARICOM’s full support for it. He also said that the workshop would allow stakeholders to be more knowledgeable about how they can “prevent, mitigate, and recover cultural assets” and strengthen partnerships among those involved.
Ms. Tatian Villegas is Coordinator of the Cultural Programme, UNESCO Regional Office for Culture for Latin America and the Caribbean. She reminded the participants that “a loss of culture results in a loss of identity.” Mr. Didier Trebucq is the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the OECS. He further expanded on Ms. TVillegas’ point and highlighted the importance of culture. He said that “the loss of a nation’s culture and cultural artifacts can be devastating”. But he also made the point that culture can be a “powerful tool in strengthening resilience; while supporting sustainable recovery following the impact of disasters.”
For further information on how the Caribbean’s culture sector is building resilience, please contact:
- Clive Murray, Communication and Education Specialist at CDEMA;
- Catherina Schonhammer, Public Information at UNESCO.
Please see the full news release here.