Annual Update 2018 VNG International


‘We can’t change what went wrong in the past. From now on we must look ahead and learn from the past instead of looking back’

Ms. Leona Marlin-Romeo

Prime-Minister of Sint Maarten


‘I expect each ESF to take full ownership of their plan, and involve also key stakeholders that need to be at the table or integrated in the ESF’

Mr. Clive Richardson

Fire Chief Officer and National Disaster Coordinator


‘Disasters see no politics. Sint Maarten needs each and every one of us’

Ms. Leona Marlin-Romeo

Prime-Minister of

Sint Maarten



Developing Sustainable and

Resilient Cities and Communities by strengthening local government


Featured Project

Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Resilience and Recovery of the Leeward Islands


> After hurricane Irma struck hard in the Caribbean, in September 2017, many Dutch municipalities offered their support for a recovery project coordinated by VNG International. The project was developed in close consultation with many stakeholders on the three islands, all part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The main focus is on Sint Maarten, which was hit hardest. The objectives agreed are:

  1. Government institutions are strengthened in their disaster preparedness capacities to anticipate and adapt, provide safety and response to all communities in future disasters.
  2. St Maarten institutions are building back better towards increased resilience to prevent and mitigate future disaster threats.


The project has only just started and will run till July 2020.

First results include:

  • With two of the ten ESF teams, supporting bodies that operate during emergency situations, an analysis has been made of their part of the emergency plan. Also a task chart has been made and a table-top simulation workshop held. This fits well in the process of improving disaster preparedness, led by the current government of Sint Maarten;
  • These first activities have raised the interest of other ESF-teams, and several of them have requested to also be included in the support foreseen in this area;
  • A start has been made with the process of reviewing and adapting the building norms, to bring them in line with the requirements imposed by the natural environment. Various stakeholders (ministry,  architects, developers, private sector) are and will be involved;
  • The burden on the Ministry of VSA (Health, Social Affairs and Labour) dealing with mass dismissal files as a consequence of the economic effects of the hurricane, has been relieved by the provision of extra capacity in the form of a pool of legal experts;
  • The capacity of front desk civil servants has been strengthened through mediation training;
  • An intensive work plan for the second half of 2018 has been agreed. Among many other activities, it includes a dilemma game with the Council of Ministers, in order to support decision-making in the chaotic situation after a disaster. It expresses the sense of urgency felt also at the political level.