International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

2005 - 2004
June - 2004

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

WCDR on-line dialogue: Setting a new international agenda towards building disaster resilient communities
The ISDR secretariat invites you to participate in an on-line conference to discuss priority areas for future action to implement disaster risk reduction for 2005-2015. The dialogue will take place from 15 June to 15 July, providing an opportunity to provide inputs for the discussions and outcomes of the WCDR.

Further information on the on-line conference is available at
To register, please refer to

African consultation highlights regional strategy for disaster reduction
In coordination with the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the ISDR secretariat organized a regional consultation in preparation for the WCDR (Johannesburg, South Africa, 2-3 June). Representatives from 28 African countries as well as numerous international and regional organizations discussed progress of disaster reduction in Africa and how to best facilitate active participation for the region in the WCDR.

Recommendations, presentations and the background paper of the meeting are available at

Beijing meeting declares governments' responsibility for protecting people from disasters
Co-organized by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs and UN/ISDR as part of the preparatory process leading to the WCDR, the International Conference on Disaster Reduction in Beijing, China (25-27 May) attracted over 100 participants from 18 countries and 6 international organizations to further promote regional cooperation and collaboration in disaster reduction, and integration of disaster reduction into development planning, policies and implementation. The Conference benefited from the recommendations of the earlier Asian Conference on Disaster Reduction 2004 held in Siem Reap Cambodia (4-6 February) and the Regional Consultation on Disaster Management held in Dhaka, Bangladesh (29-31 March). The Conference declaration will be available shortly on the ISDR website.

Latin American experts from health sector prepare agenda for disaster mitigation
Over 100 experts from 18 Latin American countries met in Nicaragua on April 21-23 to review the current state of disaster vulnerability in the region in preparation for the WCDR. The meeting noted achievements in risk reduction and prepared an action plan to reduce vulnerability in health facilities and water systems over the next 10 years, stressing the need for these issues to be addressed in national agendas and allocated the necessary financial resources and legal frameworks, to be presented at the WCDR.

For more information on health facilities workshop please contact; on the drinking water infrastructure workshop, contact: Further information is available at

Caribbean meeting on mitigation in health facilities
More than 34 representatives from Caribbean countries as well as from the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), UN/ISDR and PAHO/WHO participated in the Caribbean Meeting on Mitigation in Health Facilities held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from 27-28 May 2004 sponsored by PAHO and ISDR in preparation for the WCDR. The rich open discussion helped to better identify central issues and recognized achievements to date in risk reduction and health, noting that there is a need to incorporate disaster mitigation into decision making beyond the health sector alone to enable the development of national risk reduction policies. Participants also agreed that hospital vulnerability reduction should be included as a national indicator of risk reduction.

Further information is available at

National inputs for the WCDR - reminder
National reporting and inputs is an essential component in the lead up to and for the elaboration of outcomes of the WCDR. UN Member States are urged to participate and submit their inputs to the ISDR secretariat by 15 June 2004. Numerous countries have indicated their preparation of reports, with India being the first to submit its input to the secretariat.

For further information and the outline for national inputs, please refer to
For any enquiries relating to the Conference, please contact the WCDR Special Unit on

Learning to live with risk: 2005 World Disaster Reduction Campaign
In the lead up to the WCDR as well as the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), this year's World Disaster Reduction Campaign highlights the importance of learning in disaster reduction to raise public awareness and understanding, reflecting on past experience, sharing information and conducting educational activities. The Campaign will build momenturm until its culmination on the International Day for Disaster Reduction (Wednesday 13 October). More information on the Campaign will soon be available on the ISDR stay tuned!

OCHA-UNEP Environmental Emergencies Partnership delivering practical results
The Environmental Emergencies Partnership (EEP), founded by OCHA and UNEP with support from a range of national and international stakeholders including the ISDR, is now in a results-focussed implementation phase. The Partnership was launched in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, with the goal of reducing the frequency and severity of environmental emergencies through more effective and integrated preparedness, prevention and response.

The Partnership welcomes new partners to expand its outreach and explore possible initiatives with a range of countries and stakeholders, including the private sector. Anyone wishing to engage in the Partnership is invited to contact the EEP Secretariat, c/o UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit at +41 Partnership is invited to contact the EEP Secretariat, c/o UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit at +41 22 917 3484 or to visit the pilot website at

Environmental Vulnerability Indicator (EVI) launched at SIDS meeting
The South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) launched the EVI at a special session of the Preparatory Meeting for the 10-year Review of the Barbados Programme of Action for small island developing states (SIDS) in New York in April. The EVI was initiated in response to a call for the development of a composite vulnerability index that incorporates both ecological fragility and economic vulnerability, enabling SIDS to better understand their vulnerability and move towards sustainable development.

More information on the EVI is available at

Ghana workshop unites representatives from 15 ministries
On 20-22 April a national workshop on disaster risk reduction for sustainable development was held in Accra, Ghana. The workshop demonstrated the clear cross-cutting nature of the subject, bringing together a range of participants who reviewed national policies and activities in disaster risk management. Thomas Broni, Deputy Minister of the Interior spoke on behalf of President J.A. Kufuor informing participants that "the president of the Republic of Ghana regards issues of disaster risk as very important for our development. The government has therefore explicitly included disaster management as a focal area of Ghana's poverty reduction strategy."

For further information on the meeting, please contact

Health and disasters: Risk of infection from dead bodies negligible after natural disasters
The May 2004 issue of PAHO's journal "Pan American Journal of Public Health/Revista Panamericana de Salud" presents a scientific article that argues that fears that dead bodies will cause widespread infection following a disaster are largely baseless and often lead to mistreatment of the bodies. Written by Oliver Morgan studying at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the article breaks new ground and is available on the PAHO publications website

2004 UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction
Nominations are still being accepted for the 2004 UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction until 18 August. Join us in rewarding individuals and institutions from around the world who contributed, through innovative practices and outstanding initiatives, to reducing the risk and vulnerabilities of communities to natural hazards!

To download the nomination form (available in English/French/Russian/Spanish), please refer to

For further information on the UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction, 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).
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