International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   


Risk reduction and education

Today, the world has a wealth of knowledge and information on disaster reduction at its disposal; the key is sharing and using this in a productive way through awareness-raising and educational initiatives so that people make informed decisions and take action to ensure their resilience to disasters. Reducing risk and vulnerability to disasters requires people’s understanding of how they can best protect themselves, their property and their livelihoods.

Education for disaster risk reduction is an interactive process of mutual learning among people and institutions. It encompasses far more than formal education at schools and universities, and involves the recognition and use of traditional wisdom and local knowledge for protection from natural hazards.

Education is conveyed through experience, established learning arrangements, information technology, staff training, electronic and print media and other means that facilitate the sharing of information and knowledge to citizens, professionals, organizations and policymakers, among a range of other community stakeholders.

Education is a crucial means within local communities around the world to communicate, to motivate, and to engage, as much as it is to teach. Awareness and learning about risks and dangers needs to start in early education, continuing through generations.

Information resources on education and disaster reduction
Learning from today’s disasters for tomorrow’s hazards
2004 World Disaster Reduction Campaign
In 2004 the annual world disaster reduction campaign focused on the theme of “learning”. The campaign resulted in numerous activities that were organized in commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, Wednesday 13 October 2004.
Knowledge, Innovation and Education: Building a culture of safety and resilience
World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR)
Education featured highly on the WCDR agenda. It was one of five key areas that comprised the WCDR Thematic Segment, and was referred to in both the Hyogo Declaration and the WCDR Programme Outcome document “Building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters: Hyogo framework for action 2005-2015”.
UN/ISDR and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have together produced an educational kit for children called “Let’s learn to prevent disasters!”. It includes the board game “Riskland” whereby players learn about what they can do to reduce disaster impacts by answering questions and advancing along the board’s winding path.
On-line educational resources on disaster reduction
As part of the 2004 World Disaster Reduction Campaign, UN/ISDR compiled a range of educational resources that can be used to raise awareness and explain what can be done to reduce risk to disasters.
UN Decade for Education on Sustainable Development
Education for sustainable development is a life-wide and lifelong endeavour which challenges individuals, institutions and societies to view tomorrow as a day that belongs to all of us, or it will not belong to anyone. The United Nations proclaimed 2005-2015 to be the UN Decade for Education on Sustainable Development to promote the subject and develop strategies for its advancement.
Disaster Education Coalition
The National Disaster Education Coalition (NDEC) is composed of federal government agencies and national not-for-profit organizations which work together to develop consistent educational information for the public about disaster preparedness, and to disseminate that information throughout their own organizations, their respective constituencies, and to the public at large. The goal of the NDEC is to develop, review, and disseminate information and advice on how the public should prepare and respond appropriately to natural and human-caused disasters.
Recurso de información sobre educación para la reducción de desastres
Preparado por el Centro Regional de Información sobre Desastres (CRID) para América Latina y el Caribe.
Expect the Unexpected
The Expect the Unexpected program is designed to teach young people aged 7 to 13 about the main types of natural disasters that could strike their area; how to better prepare for emergency situations; attitudes and behaviors to adopt during and after emergency situations; and evacuation procedures for school and home.
The program is available in English and French and can be seen and downloaded free of charge at the following address: /
Flood Ranger
FloodRanger is an educational game about managing flood defences along rivers and coasts. It is aimed at flood defence practitioners, local authorities, insurers, universities and schools. The objective of the game is to defend urban areas and sites of special scientific interest while maintaining levels of housing and employment for an expanding population. The game uses a virtual terrain loosely based on the east coast of England. The user can select between two world future scenarios in combination with four climate change scenarios taken from the UK Hadley Centre for Climate Change.
Safer schools

A safe and secure environment is a prerequisite for effective teaching and learning.
The following resources provide more in-depth analysis and discussion of protecting the learning environment from natural hazards:
Keeping Schools Safe in Earthquakes
APELL for Schools and Educational Buildings: A community-based approach for school safety and education for disaster reduction