The way has been cleared for Barbados and other Caribbean countries to receive more assistance in disaster risk management from the Argentina-based White Helmets Commission.
The commission, which falls under the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, was established primarily to design and implement international humanitarian assistance.
Today, President of the Commission Alejandro Daneri signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Ronald Jackson, focusing on the development of management tools to help the region in disaster management and emergency response.
The agreement was signed in Bridgetown during CDEMA’s ninth technical advisory committee meeting at the Warrens Baobab Tower.
The project, which includes a communication platform, workshops and the development of various children’s education campaigns, began in Jamaica a few years ago. The MOU now allows for it to be extended to the rest of the Caribbean through models that would be specific to each country.
“We have tried certainly over the last three to four years to springboard the experiences in Jamaica into a broader regional initiative, recognizing that many of our states have been talking about advancing volunteerism in support of disaster risk management programmes,” said Jackson.
Pointing to the vast experience of the White Helmets Commission also known as Cascos Blancos in Spanish, Jackson said it has had a significant impact on states worldwide helping to promote volunteerism and humanitarian processes.
“We have had a series of workshops in Jamaica with our member states to explore the full suite of services that Cascos Blancos provides … to discover how in the area of disaster management, our collaboration could benefit the region. So the signing of this MOU really is the culmination of negotiations and findings,” said Jackson.
The CDEMA official added that the MOU also allows for the two organizations to explore opportunities to develop teaching aids for children and how to better coordinate external support in the area of emergency response.
Daneri said Cascos Blancos was aware of the concerns of the region when it came to natural disasters, and the need to make the Caribbean “less exposed [and] more resilient”. “We also know about the regional response mechanisms that the Caribbean possesses, and with which White Helmets can collaborate in the framework of deployment of emergency operations. It is also on our agenda to share the White Helmets experience on the volunteering mechanism of humanitarian assistance,” said Deneri. (MM)