International Strategy for Disaster Redution
Latin America and the Caribbean   

2005 - 2004
Setiembre - 2004

" Learning from today's disasters for tomorrow's hazards"
2004 World Disaster Reduction Campaign

The theme of this year's World Disaster Reduction Campaign is "learning". Learning to live with the risks that hazards pose to communities is one of the key ways to protect people and property. UN/ISDR is launching an international art contest for young people aged 16 and under, in the lead up to the World Conference on Disaster Reduction. In 2004 the International Day for Disaster Reduction will be commemorated on Wednesday 13 October.

Further information on the campaign and art contest is available at

World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR), Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, 18-22 January 2005

Updated WCDR programme outcome document
The proposed WCDR programme outcome document "Building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters, in support of sustainable development" is now available on-line. This version will be discussed and further refined at the upcoming PrepCom 2.
The programme outcome document is available on-line at

PrepCom 2 - 11-12 October, Geneva
Advance copies of documentation to be discussed at the Second session of the preparatory committee for the WCDR (PrepCom 2) are now available on-line. Translations of official documents will be made available by the end of September.
Further information on PrepCom 2 is available at

Deadline for applications for WCDR thematic segments and public forum over
31 August was the deadline for applications for the organization of thematic sessions and public forum at the WCDR. A listing of all WCDR sessions will be made available in October on the WCDR website.

Upcoming meetings in preparation for the WCDR
The on-line forum on community based disaster management (CBDM) organized by the UN Centre for Regional Development commenced on 13 September and will continue until 6 October 2004. The forum is intended to expand ideas of governance, civil society and education in the context of CBDM for further discussion at the WCDR.
Further information is available at

The European Commission Joint Research Centre and the Swedish Rescue Services Agency in collaboration with the OECD International Futures Programme is organizing a seminar on systematic risks and lessons learned on 20 September in Karlskoga, Sweden. For further information on this meeting, please contact or visit the password-protected web site (User name: lessons/Password: learned)$File/index.htm
For any enquiries relating to the Conference, please refer to the official WCDR website or contact the WCDR Special Unit on

" Recovery from Catastrophic Disasters" public forum

Transitional recovery from major or medium size disasters is a grey area which represents the opportunity to focus on introducing risk reduction measures. Media attention and interest from authorities and the international community is great in the early aftermath of a major disaster; however, lessons from the past show that the opportunity is quickly lost if not acted upon based on previous planning. On 24 August a public form on recovery on catastrophic disasters was held at UN University in Tokyo (Japan), attracting over 250 participants, including H.I.H.the Crown Prince of Japan, and held on the occasion of Japan's Disaster Prevention Day and the Disaster Prevention Week. The event was organized by ADRC with the Cabinet Office of Japan, UNU, UN/ISDR UNDP in cooperation with USAID, NHK and Hyogo Prefectural Government.

For further information on the public forum, please contact

Education and disasters
On 7-9 September OAS, UNESCO, UNICEF and UN/ISDR organized a regional meeting on education for disaster risk reduction in San Andrés, El Salvador. Over 100 participants from 17 countries in the region attended the meeting, requesting that the resulting declaration be taken into consideration at PrepCom 2 and at the WCDR.
The San Andrés Declaration is available at

The Regional Disaster Information Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (CRID) produced a CD with information on education and disasters that was presented at the Latin American Meeting on Education and Disaster Risk Reduction.
To access the CD on-line, please refer to

UNESCO, in collaboration with Kyoto University, and other partners is working on the identification of best practices and case studies on education for disaster reduction. A compilation of such studies will be prepared for the WCDR as well as in the lead up to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

Submissions should be sent to by 31 October 2004.
For further information, please contact

Communication and public information in the Americas
On 24-26 August a regional meeting on communications and public information for disaster reduction was held in Antigua, Guatemala) co-organized by PAHO, UNESCO, IFRC and the UN/ISDR regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean. The meeting reviewed the current situation in the region and highlighted areas for attention such as the development and implementation of communication policies and strategies; the role of the media; and science, technology and communication, which in turn will contribute to the discussions to be held at the WCDR.

Further information on the meeting including the final proceedings are available on request from

Gender equality and disaster risk reduction
On 10-12 August a workshop was held in Honolulu, Hawai'i that provided a forum for dialogue and strategizing across disciplines, sectors, regions and all other boundaries that divide those with shared concerns about women's empowerment, social equality and the risk of disaster.

For further information on the meeting, please contact

El Niño and its global impact
The International center for research on the El Niño phenomenon (CIIFEN) and the European Geosciences Union are organizing on the El Niño phenomenon and its global impact on 16-20 May 2005 in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Further information is available at

Hurricane season continues
Early warning demonstrated its value in recent major storms and hurricanes affecting the Caribbean, with losses of lives a tiny fraction of what they might have been. As hurricane Ivan continues its destructive path across the Caribbean, media reports demonstrate the value of investing in disaster risk reduction thanks to measures taken by populations living in Ivan's and future hurricanes' paths.

For more on risk reduction and early warning see

Up-to-date news on this season's hurricanes is available at the following websites:

New national platforms for disaster reduction
The month of August saw the creation of three new national platforms in Africa: Gabon, Republic of Congo and Kenya. The Congolese, Gabonese and Kenyan ISDR National Platforms will join the worldwide network of platforms that along with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction, the ISDR secretariat and ISDR regional offices and partner organizations, form part of the global implementation of the ISDR.
For further information on national platforms, please refer to

ISDR Highlights is a monthly email update on current news in disaster reduction published by the Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR).
Please direct all enquiries (including subscription requests) to: