International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Meetings & conferences on disaster reduction

ISDR Global


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;
• Identify priorities and gaps when implementing their national agenda for risk reduction
• Monitor the advance of all efforts related to risk reduction, through the establishment of indicators and short-, mid- and long-term goals;
• Increase existing knowledge and the exchange of national experiences at regional and national levels;
• Gain credibility among different institutions and interest groups;
• Complement short-term goals for economic development with mid- and long-term goals for the reduction of vulnerability to national disasters; and,
• Follow-up on the implementation of the ISDR at the national level

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

The United Nations and the National Platforms for Disaster Reduction

In 1999, the Economic and Social Council in Resolution 1999/63 ìcalled on all governments to maintain and strengthen established national and multisectoral platforms for natural disaster reduction, in order to achieve sustainable development goals, with the full utilization of technical and scientific mechanisms. It is indeed incumbent on each Government to decide on the form and structure of the multisectoral platform in its own country. Given the success of national committees and focal points during the Decade in a large number of countries, the Secretary-General strongly encourages all governments to take the necessary measures to implement this appeal.

Subsequently, in paragraph 7 of Resolution 54/219, the General Assembly ìCalls upon Governments to continue to cooperate and coordinate their efforts with the Secretary-General and the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations system, non- governmental organizations and other partners, as appropriate, to implement and to develop further a comprehensive strategy to maximize international cooperation in the field of natural disasters.

Since its launching in the year 2000, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction has laid special emphasis on promoting the concept of national platforms for disaster reduction, taking into consideration the immediate background and good experiences achieved with committees and focal points established during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, IDNDR, (1991-2000).

Most recently, the Hyogo Franework for Action referes to national platforms and calls for the "creation and strengthening of national integrated disaster reduction mechanisms, such as multisectorial national platforms, with designated responsibilities at national through local levels to facilitate coordination across sectors."

This national platform is constituted by SINAPRED
National System for Natural Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Response
Vice Presidency of the Republic
Cristóbal Sequeira González
Plaza Inter., 1 c. al lago
Edificio Vicepresidencia de la República Managua, Nicaragua
Tel: (505) 228-6504/228-6590
Fax: (505) 228-2453


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:

Ministry of the Interior and Justice
Eduardo José González Angulo
Department of Disaster Prevention and Response
Calle 13, No. 32-69, Edificio Laboratorio
Piso 4, Bogotá, Colombia
Tel: (57-1) 375-0934/ 0842
Fax: (57-1) 375-1077

Civil Defense Bureau
Alfonso Arteaga Arteaga
Calle 52 # 14-67 Bogot· DC
Tel: (57-1) 691-7071/640-0009
Fax: (57-1) 640-8081

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Juana García Uribe
Director of International Cooperation
Calle 10 # 5-51 Bogot· DC
Tel: (57-1) 566-7103
Fax: (57-1) 562-5939

National Planning Bureau
Julio Miguel Silva Salamanca
Department of Urban Development and Environmental Policy
Calle 26 # 13-19 piso 8 Edificio Fonade, Bogot· DC
Tel: 596-0300 ext. 2572- 2550
Fax: (57-1) 599-9557 ñ 596-0314


This national platform is constituted by the Civil Defense Bureau, the Ministry of the Environment, SENPLADES, COPEFEN and INECI:

Civil Defense Bureau National Office- Quito, Ecuador
Amazonas y Villalengua Esq. Edif: Cosena 1er piso
Tel: (593-2) 243-0644/243-9918

Ministry of the Environment
Av. 10 de Agosto 3560, Edificio METROCAR, Quito
Tel: (593 2) 540920
Fax: (593 2) 565809

National Secretariat for Planning and Development (SENPLADES
Pubenza María Fuentes
Edificio La Union 4to Piso Banalc·zar 679 y ChileTel: (593-2) 2950-399/2580-737
Fax: (593-2) 2580-575

Coordinating Unit of the Emergency Program to Cope with Natural Phenomena (COPEFEN)
Adrián Rivadeneira Executive Director

Víctor Manuel Rendón 401 y Curdova, P.3,
Tel: 256 0284 / 256 0193
Fax: (593 4) 256 0216
Ecuadorian Institute for International Cooperation (INECI)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Alberto Yepez; Executive Director
Av. 10 de Agosto y Carriun; Quito
Tel: (593 2) 256 0989
Fax: (593 2) 250 4933


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:

National Commission for Risk Prevention and Emergency Response (CNE)
Luis Diego Morales Matamoros; President
P.O. Box 5258-1000; San José
Tel: (506) 220 0378 / 232 5252
Fax: (506) 296 5225

Costa Rican Red Cross
Miguel Carmona Jiménez; President
P.O. Box 1025-1000, San José.
Tel: (506) 2337033/ 2553761
Fax: (506) 2557628.

Ministry of the Environment and Energy (MINAE)
Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Echandi, Minister
De la Corte Suprema de Justicia 200 al este y 25 al sur, San José
Tel: (506) 233-4533

Ministry of Health
María del Rocío Sáenz, Minister
Calle 16 Av. 6 y 8, detrs del Hosp. San Juan de Dios
Tel: (506) 223-0333

Ministry of Security, the Interior and Police
Rogelio Ramos Martínez
Bo Curridaba, frente al Liceo José María Castro Madríz, San José
Tel: (506) 227-4866

Ministry of Public Works and Transport
Sr. Javier Chaves Bolaños, Minister
Costado oeste de la Plaza Cleto González, Víquez, San José
Tel: (506) 257-7798

Mixed Institute for Social Aid
Fernando Trejos, Director
Barrio La California, 75 sur de la KFC en San Pedro Tel: (506) 257-9222

Ministry of Housing
Helio Fallas, Minister
(506) 221-4411 apdo.222-1002