Sint Maarten prepares the cultural sector for natural disasters

11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

The Caribbean Small Island Developing States are on the forefront of Climate Change. Natural disasters have become more frequent and more severe. Cultural heritage in its diverse manifestations – from historic monuments and museums to traditional practices and contemporary art forms is essential for a nation's identity. The hazard of natural disasters poses a real threat to destroy the cultural identity, therefore, it is the cultural sector must be prepared.

In February 2020, UNESCO, in representation of the Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean, brought together representatives from the Sint Maarten Culture Sector to train them in Disaster Recovery and Heritage Preservation.

During the three-day workshop, the twenty-five participants learned how to carry out risk assessments, prepare evacuation plans, implement practical restoration and stabilization measures, and provide first aid for cultural heritage after the disaster, such as handling and drying wet books and paper.

Valerie Monier Martens from the Nationaal Archief, Curaçao and Samuel Franco Arce, Board Member of the Disaster Resilient Museums Committee of the International Council of Museums facilitated the workshop, which provided for follow-up activities to the last meeting of the Caribbean Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (CARBICA) in 2018 which was held in Sint Martin in response to the local destruction caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017. This workshop was also part of the wider efforts of the Cluster Office’s in the Caribbean sub-region to build resilience in the culture sector.

UNESCO’s activities for Protecting Culture in Emergencies.