International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Highlights

2006 - 2005 - 2004

2005
  November
  October
  September
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  July
  June
  May
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  March
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July - 2005

Internal changes in staff of the ISDR secretariat

The regional coordinator Ms. Elina Palm has moved to New York where she will serve as the ISDR Liaison Officer at the UN headquarters starting from July. She can be contacted at: palm@un.org

Mr. Dave Zervaas will serve as the new regional coordinator in Costa Rica, starting from 27th July. Mr. Zervaas can be contacted at: dzervaas@eird.org. ISDR secretariat is also strengthening its presence in Panama, where many UN and other organizations have their regional offices. To this end, Mr. Haris Sanahuja, Regional Policy Advisor for ISDR has been transferred to Panama from the ISDR Headquarters/Geneva and can be reached at:Sanahuja@un.org

12th Pacific Regional Disaster Management Meeting Madang, Papua New Guinea, 6-8 June
The SOPAC island member national disaster managers from the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Palau, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu attended the 12th Pacific Regional Disaster Management Meeting from 6 – 8 June 2005 in Madang, Papua New Guinea. Representatives from Australia and New Zealand were also present. The theme was “Investment for Sustainable Development: Building the Resilience of Nation’s and Communities to Disaster”, which focused on the Draft Pacific Framework for Action 2005-2015, modeled closely on the Hyogo Framework and designed to reflect the special needs of the Pacific Small
Islands Development State (SIDS).

The meeting also established the Guiding Principles for the Draft Framework for Action, which will contribute to the Pacific Islands Forum leaders vision and the achievement of their national development goals. The SOPAC Governing Council (20-30 September 2005 in Samoa) and the
Pacific Islands Forum leaders will be requested to consider and endorse the Draft Framework for Action.

The SOPAC Governing Council and the Pacific Islands Forum leaders are requested to consider and endorse the Draft Framework for Action 2005-2015. In order to achieve it, they agreed to accelerate the implementation of disaster risk reduction and disaster management policies in their countries. They will develop and strengthen disaster risk reduction and disaster management, including preparedness, response and relief/recovery systems; they will integrate disaster risk reduction and disaster management into national sustainable development planning and decision-making processes at all levels; and will strengthen effective partnerships between all stakeholders in disaster risk reduction and disaster management.
For more information visit the following website: http://www.sopac.org/

Second International World Conference on Climate Centre, Hague, 21-24 June
The Red Cross / Red Crescent Climate Centre held its 2nd International World Conference on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, 21-24 June in The Hague. The meeting brought together over 100 practitioners integrating climate change concerns in disaster risk reduction as well as experts from the disaster reduction and the climate change fields. Participants discussed community-based climate adaptation/disaster risk reduction programmes; methods and tools for climate risk reduction; financing weather and climate related risks; and linking local community climate risk reduction programmes with national and international policies.

The ISDR secretariat presented the work of the IATF Working Group on Risk Assessment (WG3) highlighting UN-Habitat's contribution (in collaboration with UNDP and ADPC) of a web portal of disaster risk assessment tools. Collaboration between ProVention Consortium, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the ISDR secretariat and others developing tool
compendiums was promoted to avoid the duplication of efforts and for the preparation of a paper on tools, as agreed by the IATF Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group led by WMO and UNDP.
For more information visit the following website: http://www.climatecentre.org/


Third International Early Warning Conference (EWCIII, Bonn, March 2006)
Discussions have continued in June with the German Foreign Ministry and the German Disaster Reduction Committee, DKKV, on preparations for the EWC III. The conference is convened by Germany under the auspices of the United Nations and will take place on 27-29 March 2006 at the former Bundestag in Bonn. It is planned to be opened by the German Foreign Minister and the UN USG for Humanitarian Affairs. The conference will aim at launching a number of specific projects on early warning, concentrating on high-priority countries and issues. The projects should focus on tailored comprehensive national early warning projects, and priority themes for global early warning advancement initiatives. This approach will advance regional and international cooperation, in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action.

It is expected that the Conference should attract the interest of intergovernmental spheres, both in the diplomatic and technical areas, of practitioners and experts in disaster risk reduction and early warning, and of the scientific community.
For more information please go to: http://www.ewc3.org

UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Twenty-third Session of the Assembly, Paris, 21-30 June
The IOC Assembly which took place in Paris, 21-30 June was an important opportunity to further advance the establishment of the early warning system in the Indian Ocean, by setting up a formal Intergovernmental Coordination Group to manage detailed policies and plans for the Indian ocean tsunami warning and mitigation system. A detection system to warn of tsunamis like the one that devastated the coasts of South Asia and Africa last December will be operational by July 2006. UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) announced that Indian Ocean states would meet in Perth, Australia, 3 August to coordinate the
system's implementation.
For more information on the IOC assembly go to: http://ioc.unesco.org

Workshops at Bangkok on the role of media in education and disaster prevention, Bangkok, 13-16 June
The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), a professional association of 102 radio and television broadcasters in the Asia-Pacific region, together with the ISDR secretariat, ESCAP, ADPC, with support by EC/ECHO, organized two media workshops in Bangkok on 13 - 16 June. 30 broadcasters coming from the tsunami affected countries including Tanzania and Somalia were
present. The first workshop, 13–14 June, was more technical in nature and involved technical, news and programming directors from broadcast companies and operational directors from meteorological, oceanographic and geographic organizations. The participants reviewed the rate and accuracy in getting information from meteorological, oceanographic and geographic organizations to broadcasters and clearly identified a communication gap between them and the met services people. The second workshop addressed education and public awareness issues and made the commitment to develop more projects on disaster reduction targeting women and children audiences. Their works will be presented at The International Day for Disaster Reduction on 12 October 2005.

Seminar Workshop for National Authorities: Risk Management Policies, Systems and Experiences in the Caribbean, Havana, Cuba, 1-3 June
Representatives of 13 member countries of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), the United Nations System, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and CDERA, met at the “Seminar Workshop for National Authorities: Risk Management Policies, Systems and Experiences in the Caribbean” held in, Havana, Cuba, 1-3 June, 2005 as part of the regional efforts to implement the Hyogo Framework in wider Caribbean. Jan Egeland (Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator), Elena Martinez (UNDP Regional Director for LAC) and many of the UN Resident Coordinator/Resident Representative from ACS member countries were among the high level representatives attending this meeting. The Seminar was organized by the ACS in collaboration with the Cuban Civil Defense, UN-OCHA, UNDP and UN/ISDR.

The meeting focused on a) developing training on risk and disaster management, strengthening exchange and cooperation and developing further alliances amongst the countries and institutions of the region with support from the United Nations, Cooperation Agencies and other regional initiatives for the purpose of improving national capabilities to reduce the impact of natural hazards; and, b) improving the integration of the international disaster response and response preparedness efforts into the national and regional disaster coordination mechanisms and procedures, in preparation to the 2005 Caribbean hurricane season. The outcomes of the meeting are reflected in a document called “Havana Consensus” that is being reviewed by ACS member countries for final approval and public dissemination. For more information please consult the website of the ACS: http://www.acs-aec.org

Setting-up of Senegal National Platform on Disaster Prevention, Dakar, 1-3 June
More than 30 participants gathered at a national workshop on disaster reduction in Dakar, Senegal on 1-3 June 2005. This workshop was organised by the ISDR office in Africa, in close collaboration with the Government and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT). The purpose of the workshop was to strengthen national mechanisms dealing with DRR, adopting a multisectorial and multidisciplinary approach. High-level representatives from different Ministries, from the Prime Minister office and the Parliament, and members from the private sector, the civil society and NGOs attended the meeting. Members of the UNCT such as UNDP, OCHA, ILO and UNESCO provided also a strong contribution to the workshop. Participants came up with concrete proposals and identified priority areas for Senegal, which were very close to the ones defined in the Hyogo Framework.

ISDR strongly supported the workshop and provided a number of tools, methodologies and guidelines to implement disaster reduction policies in the national agenda. The principle of having a national multisectorial and multidisciplinary platform to better coordinate with key disaster management partners has been agreed on and Senegal is now moving ahead with some concrete proposals towards the implementation of the Hyogo Framework.

The First African Advisory Group on Disaster Risk Reduction, Nairobi, 10-11 June

Convened by the ISDR secretariat and with African Union and five countries (Senegal, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Uganda), the African Advisory Group was established. This initiative aims to mobilize political commitment and link the national needs and concerns with the UN assistance in disaster risk reduction in Africa, and to carry out advocacy activities at higher level.

Expert Missions to Indian Ocean Countries to Assess Requirements and Capacity for an Effective and Durable National Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System the IOC/UNESCO led multidisciplinary assessment team is composed of five members (an IOC governance person, a WMO representative, an ISDR representative, a tsunami warning expert and a tsunami response expert) and has started to visit 17 countries in the region and will be finalized by the end of August. The first mission was for Sri Lanka (19-21 May 2005), and in June a mission was sent to Myanmar and Pakistan (9–15 June), and the other mission was sent to Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Oman, Seychelles (6–17 June).

Strategic Planning Meeting of the UN Disaster Management Training Programme (UN/DMTP), Geneva, 20-21 June
The ISDR contributed to the formulation and composition of the Meeting, organized by UNDP/BCPR, Geneva 20-21 June. This important strategic Meeting brought together a diverse collection of 25 capacity development individual professionals and selected organizations from within and beyond the UN system, from the five continents. The purpose of the meeting was to seek common ground and productive initial relationships to consider a later, expanded “Future Search” (methodology) Meeting to develop specific action areas that could systematically address enhanced, multiple commitments to capacity-building in furtherance of Hyogo Framework objectives. The result of this initial discussion is to plan for an expanded Meeting of capacity-building practitioners scheduled for December 2005 in a joint collaboration among ISDR-UNDP/BCPR-UN System Staff Training College in Turin, Italy. The renewed DMTP could become one of the main pillars for the implementation of the Hyogo Framework in particular to support needs of national platforms. It is expected to develop into a substantive collaboration between UNDP-ISDR secretariats.

Dialogue on millennium development goals and disaster risk reduction
In September 2005, world leaders will meet again in New York for a summit to review the MDGs. In January 2005, the World Conference on Disaster Reduction called for a stronger link between internationally agreed development goals and disaster risk reduction. The ISDR Secretariat is hosting an online dialogue on the mainstreaming of Disaster Risk Reduction into strategies to attain the Millenium Development Goals. The dialogue opens on the 12th of July and will continue for a period of three weeks.

The objective of the online conference is to provide a forum to exchange views on how disaster risk reduction should be better represented in the Millennium Development Goals; both for the current targets and the indicators as well as to identify how the MDGs can be closer linked to the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015.
For more information please go to: http://www.unisdr.org/mdgs-drr

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: isdr@un.org

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