Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean
Meetings & conferences on disaster reduction
National Platforms for Disaster Reduction
As mentioned in the Hyogo Framework for Action, national participation, as the basis for sub-regional and international cooperation for disaster reduction, is a critical issue for the success of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR). In this context, one of the main goals of the ISDR is to develop national mechanisms with a clear multi-sector structure aimed at reducing disasters. These mechanisms are concrete expressions of the political will and institutional recognition of disaster risk reduction as a relevant issue at the national level. In order to be effective, these mechanisms, generally named ìnational platformsî but also known as ìnational systemsî, must be established through a participatory process that includes multi-stakeholder viewpoints and actions.
A national platform for disaster reduction may be defined as a national mechanism in the form of a system, forum, committee, network, etc. that addresses the goals of disaster risk reduction through a coordinated and participatory process of ideas and actions. The process carried out by national platforms include analyses of the current situation, the formulation of various policies and action plans, and the ongoing implementation, monitoring and review of all activities related to disaster reduction. The process lays emphasis on the progress made to achieve the objectives set for disaster reduction; and not necessarily on the preparation of a ìplanî as the final product.
National platforms may serve as tools for informed decision-making, as they bring a framework for the systematic analysis of the commitment to those priority actions carried out among sectors territories. In order to achieve this, consultation, mediation and negotiation processes are institutionalized, and consensus is reached on those priority social issues in which interests may differ.
Furthermore, these mechanisms enable countries to address interrelated social, economic and environmental problems, as they contribute to building capacities, establishing procedures and legislative frameworks, allocating limited resources in a rational manner, and establishing a specific schedule for those actions to be taken. Countries may benefit significantly from developing an effective national platform, both directly as a result of disaster risk reduction- and indirectly from the process itself.
Each country must determine, on an individual basis, the best way to address the creation and implementation of their national platforms, depending upon the current economic, social and ecological situation. In most cases, national platforms will be established in the context of existing mechanisms and processes. The strengthening, rearrangement or redirection of these structures will allow for capacity-building in a more efficient and effective manner. Those national groups or committees already working on disaster reduction will also have the opportunity to increase their access to other relevant bodies at national, regional and global levels, strengthening their existing links.
Beyond the organizational type adopted by a national platform, the additional value of its operation is given by its multisectoral and interdisciplinary nature. These platforms must not only bring together national public officials, but also civil society, NGOS, the private sector, academia, and the media. In addition, national platforms must be flexible, as the dynamics of current national situations, particularly regarding political and economic issues, require that these mechanisms respond to change and be adaptable.
It is unlikely that, since the beginning, a national platform will be established with an ideal structure regarding its members. It is then applicable to speak of a process for ìdeveloping and strengtheningî these platforms, making explicit reference to their evolving characteristic. In general, a national platform starts with a core group composed of those institutions with a greater commitment to disaster reduction, under the leadership of one of them. During its evolving process, more stakeholders and interest groups participate, as they see this platform as an illustrative and concrete mechanism needed to voice their inputs and develop their initiatives.
The additional value of national platforms must be clear to all participants. To a large extent, disaster risk reduction still depends on the commitment of public authorities. In order to gain access to essential elements, such as the political will and commitment of national leaders to allocate resources, national platforms will have to prove their value from both economic and political standpoints. Although the opinions of experts, academicians and major development organizations are essential, they are not enough to stimulate the large amount of resources and energy required for the effective functioning and sustainability of these platforms. For this reason, a basic ingredient of a national platform is the active and committed participation of all main actors from the public sector whose responsibilities include disaster reduction.
The following are some of the main objectives of national platforms
Increase collaboration among national groups involved in disaster reduction;
The ISDR secretariat, in coordination with other UN agencies (in particular UNDP) and relevant regional organizations, actively promotes the development and strengthening of national platforms. As part of its efforts, the ISDR Secretariat has prepared a document entitled ìGuiding Principles: National Platforms for Disaster Reduction. This document is also available in Spanish at www.eird.org
This national platform is made up of the Ministry of the Interior, the Civil Defense Bureau, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Planning Bureau:
of the Interior and Justice
of Foreign Affairs
This national platform is constituted by the Civil Defense Bureau, the Ministry of the Environment, SENPLADES, COPEFEN and INECI:
Defense Bureau National Office- Quito, Ecuador
of the Environment
Secretariat for Planning and Development (SENPLADES
Unit of the Emergency Program to Cope with Natural Phenomena (COPEFEN)
Manuel Rendón 401 y Curdova, P.3,
of Foreign Affairs
This national platform is composed of the Board of Directors of the National Commission for Risk Prevention and Emergency Response, which is constituted by 8 ministries and the Red Cross:
Commission for Risk Prevention and Emergency Response (CNE)
of the Environment and Energy (MINAE) firstname.lastname@example.org