The International Organization of Migration, (IOM) in collaboration with the Western Hemisphere Programme held a one day workshop for local Governments and those involved in disaster management in the north of the island.

The workshop took place at the Portsmouth Credit Union Conference Room and was geared at improving migration management in the regions of the Caribbean to reduce irregular flow of migrants vulnerability while combatting the efforts of trafficking persons and migrant smuggling networks.

Mayor of Portsmouth, Her Worship, Mrs. Kerry Breedy Prince, says this workshop is essential to ensure that the communities are fully prepared in times of disasters.

“Portsmouth is diverse and blessed with various nationals coexisting together. It is imperative to ensure that they can function effectively just like nationals can in our society while also ensuring their safety and cooperation in times of disaster. I commend IOM for embarking on this initiative taking place here since this is critical in ensuring that our disaster risk management plans and emergency management plans are inclusive of migrants living in our society,” Mrs. Prince stated.

The Mayor commended those who availed themselves for this workshop and says she hopes that all the knowledge obtained in this workshop is used in the management plans for disasters.

“I also commend all the parties who took their time to participate in this workshop and I hope that all that we learn here will be implemented in our management plans to ensure that it is improved,” Mrs. Prince added.

Community Engagement Officer at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Maxine Alleyne Esprit, says during this workshop the work of emergency management is lifesaving work which should be delivered with equity and without discrimination.

“We will understand some of the reasons why migrants require special consideration and adaptation of services and what are the factors that contribute to increased vulnerability of migrants in times of crisis. We will use the MICIC guidelines to examine the best practices from around the world and to reflect on the local context to discern how we can improve our disaster plans and practices to better provide for the safety of people who happen to be in Dominica in times of crisis and also to harness their experiences, expertise and ideas in our own community based disaster management in Portsmouth and the rest of the Northern District,” Mrs. Alleyne Esprit explained.

She says IOM is thrilled for the opportunity to support the Government of Dominica through the Local Government Department in advancing its contribution towards several global policy frameworks and the achievement of global objectives.

“As the UN Migration Agency, we are truly grateful for the generous support from the US Department of State Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration under this Western Hemisphere Programme, which enables us to support this progressive workshop, taking place at the grassroots and yet contributing to so many grand aspirations. Looking at this activity with a global lens we are working within the SENDAI Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and contributing to the objectives of the global compact for migration. These are objective 2 which works to minimize the drivers of forced migration, objective 7 by addressing and reducing vulnerabilities in migration and objective 14 enhancing consular protection and assistance. We are also contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGS),” Mrs. Alleyne-Esprit added.

This programme has been implemented since 2010 by the IOM.