Resolution from the North American and the Caribbean Region on Disaster Preparation and Relief

published 25 July 2011 updated 31 March 2017

The 6th World Congress of Education International (EI), meeting in Cape Town (South Africa) 22 to 26 July 2011:


WHEREAS, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake in 2010 killing as many as 230,000 people, injuring upward of 300,000 and leaving an estimated 1,000,000 homeless; and

WHEREAS, the death and destruction in Haiti, already the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, was immeasurably worsened by the lack of building standards as well as basic health and public service infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, our colleagues in Haiti found themselves faced with the destruction and disruption of their union and the school system they served when an earthquake hit in 2010; and

WHEREAS, following a disaster, schools are often disrupted and children are left without education services for extended periods of time; and

WHEREAS, children suffering the shock of disaster must return to some safe haven of normalcy as soon as possible, and schools can serve as such a haven for the physical, intellectual and emotional needs of children in crisis, and

WHEREAS, every country faces the uncertain threat of sudden natural or man-made environmental disaster; and

WHEREAS, every union should have disaster preparation plans developed to deal with such potential catastrophic circumstances:

AND WHEREAS, in the immediate aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, the outpouring of aid from the rest of the world, both from nations and individuals, was enormous; and

WHEREAS, local, national and international agencies, foundations, charities and institutions, both internal and external to education, often assist in disaster situations; and

WHEREAS, many of our unions have no relationship with external organizations who may otherwise offer or be applied to for assistance; and

WHEREAS, we recognize the outpouring of support from Education International affiliates from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres who have contributed funds and traveled to Haiti to offer technical assistance to the Confederation Nationale des Educateurs d’Haiti (CNEH) and who demonstrated the most basic form of solidarity by to our brothers and sisters in Haiti:

AND WHEREAS, Haiti still needs international support, and that support must have a goal beyond simply restoring the country's infrastructure to the low level that existed before; and

The Congress mandates the Executive Board to ensure

the use of existing models and resources for ongoing training and technical assistance to support unions in the development of a crisis management plan that attends to communicating with and regrouping leaders and staff after disaster strikes; preserving and securing union documents and member information from potential loss or destruction; identifying possible channels for emergency communication with members; and recovering the union to such a level that it may effectively advocate for the urgent needs of school children and members in the wake of disaster.

that affiliates be provided information on accessing channels of international assistance; facilitating long-term partnerships with appropriate external organizations so that relationships may be nurtured so that outside organizations develop an understanding and respect for our unions as credible partners for assistance in restoring the disrupted school system to children who have survived a disaster.

The Congress invites the Executive Board and member organizations to

encourage international donor agencies, working with the wealthy nations of the world to provide long-term development assistance to Haiti with the goal of developing public services including free, universal quality education and an infrastructure that will offer Haitians a real chance of escaping the bonds of poverty; and support counterpart education, healthcare and public service unions in Haiti in the development of their nation and of a public infrastructure that serves all of its people, in coordination with Public Services International, International Trade Union Confederation and other relevant NGOs.