International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
The Americas


   

 

The Inter-American Network for Disaster Mitigation

Introduction

In compliance with a series of mandates and resolutions of the process of the Summit of the Americas and of the General Assembly of the OAS, The Department of Sustainable Development (DSD) of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (GS/OAS), with support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), is establishing an Inter-American Network for Disaster Mitigation (INDM), as a mechanism for the sharing and exchange of information, knowledge and experience with regard to natural hazard risk management.

INDM emerges from the need to: (a) assist OAS Member States with the sharing and exchange of information, knowledge, and experience on Natural Hazard Risk Management; (b) strengthen the planning and disaster management activities of the OAS in order to respond more effectively to the increasingly frequent natural disasters that impact the Hemisphere; (c) provide for a mechanism to coordinate efforts and promote collaboration among the organizations of the Inter-American System, Regional Inter-governmental Organizations, International Organizations, Donors, Banks and Financing Institutions, and National Agencies responsible for the coordination of natural disasters management; (d) support the follow-up and implementation of the decisions of the Inter-American Committee for Natural Disaster Reduction (IACNDR); and (e) coordinate the implementation, monitoring and periodic revision of the Inter-American Strategic Plan for Policy on Vulnerability Reduction, Risk Management and Disaster Response (IASP).

The proposed INDM will support the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, in collaboration with the Global Platform of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction of the United Nations (ISDR-UN), by facilitating exchange of information and best practices in the region, and by promoting collaboration agreements among governments. Consequently, the INDM adopts the principles and guidelines of the Global Platform and the ISDR.

The DSD/OAS, as the main forum for intergovernmental dialogue with regard to sustainable development issues, plans to use INDM as a tool to assist OAS Member States in advancing the formulation and development of public policy related to natural hazard risk management. In line with the principles and objectives of ISDR and the commitments made by the countries of the Americas, the Network will focus its efforts in the exchange and sharing of best practices, and policy models that promote the mainstreaming of natural hazard risk reduction into sustainable development policy and planning.

The Inter-American System –the Inter-American Committee for Natural Disaster Reduction (IACNDR)

OAS Member States, at the regional level, have committed to include in their national development plans, strategies for planning and preparing for disasters, the establishment of building codes, and the exchange of information and technical knowledge. The 1996 Summit on Sustainable Development, in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, set the guidelines to comply with such commitments.

Over the years, the OAS has also been committed to the application of science and technology towards the mitigation of natural disasters, as well as towards the promotion of cooperation and information exchange regarding natural disasters. Policies have supported the implementation of disaster risk mitigation/risk reduction programs.

In 1999, OAS Member States, gathered at the General Assembly, resolved to create the Inter-American Committee for Natural Disaster Reduction (IACNDR), through resolution AG/RES. 1682. The Committee is chaired by the Secretary General of the OAS, and is comprised of the President of the OAS Permanent Council, the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Director General of Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), the Secretary General of the Pan-American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH), the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), and other invited representatives of national, regional or international organizations as the OAS Secretary General deems appropriate. The main purpose of IACNDR is to strengthen cooperation among the countries of the hemisphere in attention and preparation of emergencies, by coordinating the international cooperation and the actions of the regional inter-governmental organizations that make up the Inter-American System.

Furthermore, the OAS Member States adopted the Inter-American Strategic Plan for Policy on Vulnerability Reduction, Risk Management and Disaster Response (IASP). The IASP seeks to: (i) reduce the loss of human life and property; (ii) improve emergency preparedness and response; (iii) improve financial protection from catastrophic loss; and (iv) make economic and social infrastructure more resilient for sustainable development and hemispheric security.

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) –the Hyogo Framework for Action and the Global Platform

The Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ ISDR), which reports to the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (UN USG), is the focal point in the UN System for disaster risk reduction. Its purpose includes the promotion of links and synergies for the coordination of disaster-risk-reduction activities, as well as support for the integration of Natural Hazard Risk Reduction (NHRR) into sustainable development policy and planning. In order to achieve its purpose, the ISDR promotes four objectives as tools towards achieving disaster risk reduction for all:
Increase public awareness to understand risk, vulnerability and global disaster reduction;
Obtain commitment from public authorities to implement disaster risk reduction policies and actions;
Forge interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral partnerships, including the expansion of risk reduction networks; and
Improve scientific knowledge about disaster risk reduction.

The Hyogo Framework for Action is a global road-map to disaster risk reduction for the next decade. Its goal is to reduce disaster losses by 2015 –in human lives and properties, and in social, economic, and environmental assets of communities and nations. Signed in January of 2005, at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction, in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, 168 governments adopted a 10-year plan to reduce the vulnerability of communities and social and economic infrastructure to natural hazards. The Framework is implemented through the Global Platform (formerly the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Risk Reduction, IATF/DR) with the participation of governments, UN agencies, and regional and civil society organizations.

The creation of an Inter-American Network would provide for a mechanism to support the development of National Platforms, by capitalizing on the information, knowledge and experience –lessons learned and best practices, already acquired in the region through the work of Inter-governmental Organizations of the Inter-American System, National Agencies, Agencies of the UN System, International Cooperation Organizations, NGOs, and organized groups of the Civil Society.

An Inter-American Network for Disaster Mitigation

Based on the general objectives established by the ISDR and the commitments assumed by the OAS Member States, the Department of Sustainable Development of the GS/OAS is promoting the creation of an Inter-American Network for Disaster Mitigation (INDM), as a hemispheric mechanism for the sharing and exchange of information, knowledge and experiences, and the implementation of synergies and cooperation for mainstreaming NHRR into sustainable development policy and national and regional development plans. The proposed network would serve as a mechanism for the implementation of the decisions of the IACNDR, and more particularly, for the coordination of the implementation of the IASP. The Network would represent a tool for the OAS Member States, to define guidelines and coordinate efforts that strengthen local and national policy initiatives on integrated management of disaster prevention and reduction at the national level in the Americas.

In order to achieve its objectives it is necessary to implement activities that directly support and promote the Network and that involve stakeholders from all levels related to the mitigation and prevention of natural disasters, as well as vulnerability reduction and hazards risk reduction, preparedness, assistance and relief, and reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Since disaster risk reduction still depends on the commitment of organizations and authorities of the public sector, the manner in which these organizations establish their priorities must be taken in to account.

Organizational Structure of the INDM

INDM will be integrated by relevant agencies and organizations involved in natural hazard vulnerability reduction, natural hazard risk reduction, and natural disaster mitigation. All the organizations of the IACNDR will be part of the Network, including all the organizations of the Inter-American System and the UN System. Some of the international organizations that are invited to participate include: the ProVention Consortium, the International Strategy for Disasters Reduction (ISDR), the International Federation of Red Cross, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Bank (WB), the World Health Organization, UNESCO, Doctors without Borders (MSF), among others. Some of the national agencies for international cooperation that are invited to participate include the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the German Agency of Cooperation GTZ, the United States Agency for International Development, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and the Italian Cooperation Agency for Development, among others.

For the purpose of coordination at the national level, OAS Member States are being invited to appoint an institution to serve as the Operational Focal Point. Regional organizations, such as the Coordination Center for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America (CEPREDENAC), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), the Andean Committee for Disaster Prevention and Assistance (CAPRADE), and the Regional Disaster Information Center (CRID) are being invited to participate as Regional Focal Points so as to coordinate actions in their regions. For the purpose of governance of the Network, these organizations, as well as those of the Inter-American System will be invited to participate in the definition and implementation of the organizational structure for the administration and decision-making. All other members of the Network will be invited to participate and contribute through the various mechanisms, tools and activities to be defined in the Network work plan.

Development Objective

The development objective of the INDM is to mainstream Natural Hazard Risk Management (NHRM) into economic and social development public policy and planning. It further adheres to the following strategic goals of the Hyogo Framework for Action:
Integration of disaster risk reduction into sustainable development policies and planning;
Institutional development and strengthening, and capacity building to increase resilience to natural hazards; and
Systematic incorporation of Risk Reduction approaches into the implementation of emergency preparedness, response and recovery programs.

Mission

The mission of the INDM is to support the exchange of information and knowledge regarding past disasters, vulnerability reduction, preparedness and response practices and strategies, and natural disaster mitigation – so as to mainstream Natural Hazard Risk Management and Natural Disaster Mitigation into national and regional development plans and public policy; improve coordination of international cooperation and investment plans; and support the implementation of multi-national agreements for transboundary early warning systems and data sharing and exchange.

Principles

The INDM adopts the following principles and guidelines of the Global Platform and the ISDR:
Coordination and inclusiveness;
Product-oriented dialogue;
Value added –filling in gaps, and avoiding overlaps and duplication;
Strengthening of inter-governmental regional organizations; and
Capacity building at the regional, national and local levels.

Overarching principles that the INDM follows are:
Prevention and preparedness –saving lives and personal property, and reducing losses and damage to social and economic infrastructure;
Community organization and local management –auto-assessing risk of cultural, social and economic values, and utilizing ancestral knowledge and practices (bio-indicators for early warnings);
Gender equity –assessing gender and age-specific vulnerabilities;
Financial and Social Risk Assessment –investment in ex-ante measures; and
Private sector involvement in all phases of risk management and disaster mitigation.

Strategic Objectives

The strategic objectives of the INDM are as follows:
To support the development of the National Platform of the Hyogo Framework for Action
To facilitate the exchange of information, knowledge and experience –lessons learned and best practices, among the OAS participating member States;
To support the monitoring and revision of the Inter-American Strategic Plan for Policy on Vulnerability Reduction, Risk Management and Disaster Response –IASP, as to ensure that the progress and lessons learned from the various national and regional strategies are being taking into consideration; and
To support the coordination of a regional agenda for the implementation of the IASP and the decision of the IACNDR.

Short-term program: First quarter of 2007

Communication to the OAS Permanent Missions informing on the results of the meeting and requesting confirmation of the designation of the Operational Focal Point;
Communication to all member organizations of the Inter-American Committee for Natural Disaster Reduction to appoint a representative to the Network;
Development of an Institutional Map for the Americas;
Development and distribution of a needs-assessment survey to all members of the INDM;
Convening and holding a meeting of an Inter-Agency Working Group with the participation of NHRR specialists from the organizations of the Inter-American System based in Washington, DC;
Organization and presentation of a face-to-face Regional Forum in each of the following regions: (1) CDERA member states; (2) CEPREDENAC member states; (3) CAPRADE member states; and (4) Countries of the South Cone –Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay;
Establishment of Thematic Forums, based on the results of the regional face-to-face Regional Forums; and
Revision of the biennium work plan, and establishment of an Inter-American Agenda for 2007-2008.

Organizational structure: INDM Management and decision-making body, Advisory body, and Executing body

The criteria followed for the proposed organizational structure for the INDM seeks:
To minimize the costs of administration and management;
To expedite the decision-making process;
To capitalize on the existing inter-governmental organizations and existing networks of the Inter-American System, and the UN System, while strengthening and building institutional and human capacity at the sub regional, national and local level; and
To ensure proper coordination and cooperation with the various global, regional and national initiatives.

Membership in the Network
Any governmental and non-governmental organization, international organization, international cooperation agency, private enterprise, and any organization of the civil society that advocate, support and/or actively participate in Natural Hazard Risk Management, according to the principles, vision and mission of the Network, is invited to be member of the Network.

The membership is for the institutions, and not individuals. Once an institution becomes a member, the Head of the institution becomes its representative, unless s/he decides to appoint another staff member as the representative to the INDM. The representative may delegate the representation in another staff member of his/er organization whenever appropriate or needed. When a representative of an institution retires or leaves the institution, the Head of the institution becomes the representative until s/he appoints a replacement.

All the organizations of the Inter-American System and the UN System are invited to be members of the Network. Also, all national institutions responsible for preparedness, prevention and mitigation of natural disasters; and all sub regional inter-governmental organizations, which act in coordination with national institutions.

Any member of the Network can invite any organization to be part of the Network at any time. Organizations interested in becoming members will need to send a letter with a brief background to the Technical Secretariat, c/o Department of Sustainable Development of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States.

The Management Board
The Management Board is composed by five members, drawn from the IACNDR full-membership.
The Board will be co-chaired by a government representative selected by the Operational Focal Points of the OAS Member States, and the DSD/OAS Chief for NHRR. The DSD/OAS Chief for NHRR can delegate his responsibility into any other member of the DSD/OAS, including the Director of the DSD/OAS.

The selection of the first co-chair to represent the governments and the length of his/er term will be supported by the DSD/OAS in its capacity as the Technical Secretariat of the Network, and communicated to all members, once the government representatives make a decision.

The Board will meet periodically, whenever possible and always trying to minimize travel costs by taking the opportunity of conferences and meetings convened and organized by member organizations. Nevertheless, electronic means will be used for regular business and decision-making. Decisions will be made by simple majority. Any member of the Board may give his/er proxies to any other member on case-by-case basis.

The Advisory Council
The Advisory Council provides programmatic advice to the Management Board and its Chairman. It includes specialists from all the IACNDR full-members –PAHO, IICA, IDB, and main donors, such as CIDA and the GEF. Additional members may be invited as the Management Board sees it appropriate.

The Advisory Council will meet by invitation of any of its members. Travel and lodging expenses will be covered by each member, unless any of the members or other member organizations offers their financial support. Likewise the Management Board, regular business and consideration of any organizational or technical matter will be conducted by electronic means.

The Technical Secretariat
The DSD/OAS acts as the Technical Secretariat of the Network, being responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the decisions of the Management Board. The Technical Secretariat also supports the Management Board in all administrative matters.

The DSD/OAS appoints a NHRR specialist who acts as the Technical Secretary and reports directly to the co-chairs of the Management Board.

Operational Focal Points
All 34 OAS Member States are invited to appoint an Operational Focal Point for the purpose of coordinating and acting as liaison with pertinent organizations –governmental, non-governmental and private, within their national territories. The Operational Focal Points are the national institutions responsible for preparedness, prevention and mitigation of natural disasters.

Regional Focal Points
Those inter-governmental organizations, such as CDERA, CEPREDENAC and CAPRADE, which act in coordination with national agencies, are invited to act as Regional Focal Points for the Network, for the purpose of coordinating the Network activities and supporting the national agencies within their sub region of competence.

The Network will strive to strengthen these regional organizations, and will work with them to arrive at sub regional agreements and positions, which in turn would be communicated to global and hemispheric mechanisms and forums, such as the ISDR and the IACNDR.

  © UN/ISDR