International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Issue: 13/2006- 12/2006 - 11/2005 - 10/2005 - 9/2004 - 8/2003 - 7/2003 - 6/2002 - 5/2002 - 4/2001- 3/2001

Partners in Action


Regional Workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean in reparation for the WCDR Quito, Ecuador, September 16-17, 2004

As the representative of the Latin America and the Caribbean Group, as well as the Chair of the Preparatory Committee for the WCDR, Ecuador sponsored the holding of a Regional Consultation Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean. The event was organized in collaboration with PAHO/WHO, UNDP, the ISDR and COSUDE, and took place on September 16-17, 2004, in Quito Ecuador. The meeting gathered 79 participants from 16 countries and 21 observers representing a number of international and subregional organizations.

One of the major outcomes expected from the WCDR is the adoption of a programmatic document that includes specific goals, priorities and collaboration mechanisms, in order to guide all efforts made by countries, regional and international organizations between 2005 and 2015 to strengthen the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, and build the resilience of nations and communities to natural and man-made disasters.

Along these lines, the WCDR Secretariat drafted the document entitled “Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters: Framework for Action 2005-2015”, which will be discussed during the WCDR for its adoption. Based on this document, and taking into account the experience and priorities of the region, the participants of this consultation meeting prepared a regional proposal and submitted it during the PrepCom 2.

It is worth mentioning that the goals of this meeting were met, including the following: understand the challenges and opportunities of countries in this region in the context of the WCDR; learn about the goals and objectives for the 2005-2015 period, especially in terms of mechanisms for collaboration and implementation that countries are currently putting in place; and prepare a regional proposal agreed upon all participants.

After participating in all four modules included in the meeting’s agenda, the delegates designated the Government of Ecuador to submit the proposal to the Preparatory Committee, which included the following conclusions and recommendations:

1. During the WCDR, it is important to consider all conclusions agreed upon during the regional thematic meetings (such as the Regional Consultation on Disaster Reduction in the Health Sector, the Regional Consultation on Public Communication and Information; the Regional Consultation on Education for Disaster Risk Reduction; the Thematic Consultation on Early Warnings; the regional initiatives proposed by UNDP; and the Workshop on the El Niño Early Warnings for Sustainable Development in Pacific Rim Countries and Islands, organized by CIIFEN/NCAR).

2. It is essential that development planning draws on policies and strategies for disaster risk reduction, becoming in this manner a crosscutting issue within State planning processes.

3. It is also important that disaster risk reduction be integrated into the eight Millennium Development Goals, defining concrete objectives and indicators for disaster risk reduction.
4. Both countries and international organizations must ratify the Johannesburg Implementation Plan, especially in terms of their commitment to disaster and vulnerability reduction.

5. It is important to highlight that the existing high level of foreign debt prevents this region from allocating the resources needed to implement national strategies for disaster risk reduction. Thus, it is necessary to facilitate debt exchange and/or reduction mechanisms, in order to focus on and allocate resources from developed countries to efforts aimed at reducing risk and vulnerabilities.

6. In the field of risk reduction, it is imperative that industrialized nations share responsibilities and join efforts with developing countries to cope with increasing threats/natural hazards and risk due to human behavior that may negatively affect the environment.

7. Special attention should be given to strategies for risk and vulnerability reduction, in particular in the context of disasters caused by the most critical phenomena in this region, such as hurricanes in Central America and the Caribbean, and the El Niño phenomenon in countries in the Pacific region.

8. Public and private investment policies in this region must advance the inclusion of a risk reduction variable as a national priority, laying emphasis on all vital sectors.

9. All remarks and contributions from this regional consultation meeting to the document entitled “Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters: Framework for Action 2005-2015” (Annex VII) should be taken into consideration.

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1-Understood as the capacity of a system, community, or society potentially exposed to threats to adapt itself, resisting or changing in order to reach and maintain an acceptable functioning level. This adaptability depends on the extent to which the social system is able to organize itself to overcome adverse situations, getting ahead safer and stronger, or transformed by this experience. In other words, resilience is the capacity to resist, overcome, and generate favorable experiences drawn upon a disaster.