UNDRR ROAC: CSSI - Virtual Pre-Ministerial Forum
The CSSI virtual Pre-Ministerial Forum will take the form of four virtual sessions to take place over the three-day period, beginning with a high-level session involving Ministers of Education in the entire Caribbean region. School safety points will have a separate session, as will youth representatives as well as broader stakeholders. To foster increased participation, the youth and stakeholders sessions will be available for the general interested public to listen in.
Broad objectives of the forum include inputs to inform the review of the current CSSI roadmap, promotion of expansion of countries committing to the Sint Maarten Declaration across the Caribbean, sharing of lessons learned from the broad spectrum of stakeholders as well as inputs to set the agenda for the 4th CSSI Ministerial Forum to be held in St. Lucia in 2025.
For more information on the previous CSSI forums and declarations, or of the CSSI itself please visit - https://www.undrr.org/caribbean-safe-school-initiative-cssi
The Antigua and Barbuda Declaration of 2017 formalised Caribbean countries’ commitment to school safety. Since then, significant advancements in school safety have been made at a global and regional level. To uphold the relevance of the regional commitment to the Caribbean School Safety Initiative, the Third Ministerial Forum held in 2022 yielded the Sint Maarten Declaration on School Safety in the Caribbean, which underscores the school safety framework of the CSSI to ensure the right to quality and inclusive education for all. It also appraises the regional exposure and vulnerability to natural, biological, anthropogenic, or societal hazards (including various types of violence) that can potentially cause disasters.
The 2022 Sint Maarten Declaration on School Safety in the Caribbean explicitly speaks to the need to address the manifestation of the systemic nature of risk and the required joint effort across sectors; it recognises the rising human and financial cost of disasters. The Declaration frames these challenges in the context of Small Island Developing States.
The Declaration reaffirms the recommendations of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the Latin America and Caribbean Regional Action Plan and the Punta del Este Declaration Caribbean Safe School Initiative Caribbean Safe Schools: Increasing Resilience in a Multi-Hazard Environment 2024 Background and Rationale (2023), the Worldwide Initiative on Safe Schools (2013), the Caribbean Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Strategy and Programming Framework 2014-2024, the Samoa Pathway (2014) and the lead up discussions pertaining to the upcoming Small Island Developing States (SIDS) 4 Conference to be held in Antigua and Barbuda in 2024, the Sustainable Development Goals 2015- 2030, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2015), the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to be adopted at COP 15 in 2022, and other relevant declarations. It embraces the Comprehensive School Safety Framework and the Caribbean Model Safe School Programme as internationally recognised approaches to reducing the risk of various hazards in the education sector.
The Caribbean region continues to experience the effects of systemic and multi-hazard risk as we witness the interplay and amplification of the varied effects of multiple events like increasingly frequent and intense climate events such as hurricanes, as well as geological events (earthquakes and tsunamis), and social (migration) as well as biological hazards, among others.
Against this backdrop, the recovery plans and other instruments designed and implemented by national and regional entities present an opportunity to: 1) reiterate the value of education in building resilient societies, and 2) the need for multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder, and regional coordination. In this order of ideas, the Caribbean Safe School Initiative (CSSI), which aims to advance school safety in the Caribbean, is the regional mechanism to rehearse this link between education and resilience, and secure coordination.
The CSSI virtual Pre-Ministerial Forum provides an opportunity to further expand upon the existing dialogue around this central matter with a broad spectrum of stakeholders and identify the key issues for high-level discussion at the IV Ministerial Forum scheduled for 2025 in St. Lucia.