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

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Prevention Pays


Does prevention pay?

Given the growing economic costs of disasters, and in the light of the positive results obtained from investing in prevention, the Mexican Government, through its National System for Civil Protection, established a "Natural Disasters Fund" (FONDEN). This is a governmental effort to strengthen preparation work and reduce the effects of a disaster. It basically provides resources to deal with the effects of a disaster without drawing on public funds or on the normal programmes run by the federal, state and municipal governments.

FONDEN is a mechanism that provides funds to respond to an emergency. The objective is to deal with the effects of unforeseen natural disasters whose magnitude overwhelms the response capacity established by the authorities. It is a complement to the prevention activities undertaken by local governments to respond to natural disasters. At the same time, efforts are under way to strengthen future capacity to respond when a disaster is foreseen or occurs.

FONDEN is a flexible and transparent financial instrument which allows the federal government to:


  1. Repair damage to uninsured public infrastructure within a particular geographic zone.

  2. Combat fires and disasters in forests and protected natural areas and repair the damage as far as possible.

  3. Support affected populations within the disaster area, responding to their immediate needs for survival, health, food, clothing and shelter.

  4. Support low-income families in the mitigation of losses to their family property and their livelihood.

  5. Provide temporary support to federal institutions and bodies in the repair of insured infrastructure until payments are received from the insurance companies.

  6. Acquire specialized equipment and goods to facilitate prevention and a more effective and quick response to a possible disaster.

FONDEN is an instrument to promote cooperation and joint-responsibility in the Mexican Government and society for effective preparation and prevention in case of disasters.

These achievements would not have been possible without the certainty that prevention pays.