UNDRR ROAMC: CSSI - Third Caribbean Ministerial Forum on School Safety
Despite scarce resources, major strategies have been implemented individually in different countries to improve school preparedness, resilience, response and recovery. To ensure political commitment at the regional and national level, the First Caribbean Ministerial Safe School Forum was organized in April 2017 in Antigua and Barbuda, during which the Caribbean Safe School Initiative (CSSI) was launched, being the suggested framework to advance school safety in the Caribbean. The same event yielded a Regional Road Map on School Safety, and the Antigua and Barbuda Declaration on School Safety, which guide the CSSI. During the First Ministerial Forum the Antigua and Barbuda Declaration was signed by 12 Caribbean Ministries of Education. During the Second Ministerial Forum, held in 2019 and hosted by the Ministry of Education and National Reconciliation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the number of signatories raised to 18.
The initiative is the Caribbean’s contribution to the Worldwide-Initiative on Safe Schools (WISS) and promotes the partnership for advancing safe school implementation. Ministries of Education lead the implementation and get technical support from international, regional and national partners. Since its launch, the CSSI has been an inclusive effort, promoting the participation of all islands in the Caribbean, including CDEMA Participating States and overseas territories, as well as bridging language barriers across English, French, Dutch and Spanish-speaking communities.
The Third Caribbean Ministerial School Safety Forum will be an in-person event, hosted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport of Sint Maarten on 28 to 30 June 2022 in Sint Maarten, observing all COVID-19 regulations in place at the time. Originally scheduled to take place in 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic had the event postponed and, in its place, “The Virtual Caribbean Safe School Initiative Pre-Ministerial Forum” was held online on 15 to 26 March 2021. The upcoming Ministerial Forum build on the outcomes of this pre-forum. Furthermore, it will offer the opportunity to reflect upon the changes and challenges the Caribbean has faced since launching the Caribbean Safe School Initiative, mainly the effects of more frequent extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Irma and Maria, or biological hazards, such as COVID-19.
The Third Ministerial Forum will be organized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport of Sint Maarten, in close collaboration with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Ministry of Education and National Reconciliation of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The organization of the Forum is possible thanks to the financial support by the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).