PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--With the support from the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) recently held a two-day bilateral summit between Haitian and Dominican civil protection representatives to define a common strategy on how to effectively manage the impact of natural disasters on the border and further reinforce bilateral relations between the two Caribbean nations.
“This dialogue has been key to developing greater understanding of the challenges that both Haiti and the Dominican Republic face regarding disaster-related issues. It has also provided an opportunity to highlight the importance of transparency and close cooperation as a way to deal with common problems”
Forty representatives from Haiti and the Dominican Republic attended the October 2 and 3 meetings held in Port-au-Prince. Taiwanese Ambassador Bang-zyh Liu, who spoke at the event, stressed the importance of ensuring that the efforts that PADF has already undertaken through the recently completed six-month Taiwan-funded Dominican Republic/Haiti Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project can be sustained in the long-term in order to help communities remain safe in the event of future disasters.
Other participants included President Michel Martelly’s official delegate to the Sud-East Department, representatives from the Organization of American States (OAS), the consul for the Dominican Republic in Anse-à-Pitres, the director of Haiti’s Civil Protection Directorate (DPC), representatives of the Association of Municipalities of the Enriquillo Region (ASOMURE), and the mayors of Anse-à-Pitres and other neighboring towns.
The meetings focused on three primary themes: 1) Challenges of risk management and vulnerabilities at the Haiti/Dominican Republic border; 2) Analysis of strategies to ensure risk management and participatory planning at the local management level; and 3) Communication and inter-municipal support. Attendees also discussed how to effectively strengthen collaboration between Haiti’s Civil Protection Directorate (DPC) and the Dominican Republic’s Civil Defense agency.
Actions taken at the summit included creating a bilateral monitoring committee with members that are directly involved in existing border disaster risk reduction activities, and designating PADF as an interface mechanism between the two civil protection agencies to facilitate bi-national discussions on disaster preparedness in the border areas.
“This dialogue has been key to developing greater understanding of the challenges that both Haiti and the Dominican Republic face regarding disaster-related issues. It has also provided an opportunity to highlight the importance of transparency and close cooperation as a way to deal with common problems,” said Nadia Cherrouk, Country Director for PADF in Haiti.
PADF plans to continue to engage both parties in order to further strengthen existing bi-lateral relations and improve the living conditions of residents in border communities in both countries.
The bilateral summit was the culmination of the Taiwan-funded Dominican Republic/Haiti Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), an innovative crisis and risk prevention intervention launched in April 2013 that melded high-technology innovation with low-technology solutions to reduce the impact of natural disasters on the communities of South East Haiti and the South East border region between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2012, it helped more than 10 million people in 29 countries. Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia, Suriname and Honduras, and projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. www.padf.org