Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean
Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Partners in Action
Knowledge of the relationships between geology, landforms and the levels of risk for population and infrastructure has been developed in many countries. In many cases, however, this knowledge has not been applied in the process of planning new housing and infrastructure. The application of up-to-date hazard zonation methodologies is often absent. Consequently, development planners lack proper maps and local authorities have no plans or risk scenarios for vulnerability reduction. Decision-makers too fail to grasp that the implementation of preventive and mitigation measures will pay off in the future.
THE CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAM FOR NATURAL DISASTER REDUCTION (CBNDR)
To address these problems, UNESCO has initiated the CBNDR program, with financial support from the Netherlands Government. The aim of the program is to coordinate the transfer of state-of-the-art knowledge with respect to natural hazard and risk zonation to organizations and institutions in developing countries. The acquired knowledge can assist these institutions to integrate existing (geo-) information and provide appropriate hazard and risk information to local authorities, thus effectively contributing to vulnerability reduction with regard both to disaster prevention in existing towns and cities and to new infrastructure and land-use planning.
REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMS
In pursuing its aims, the UNESCO CBNDR will initiate and support regional action programs with the following activities:
THE FIRST REGIONAL
Central America is the region selected for the first regional action program. CEPREDENAC, the intergovernmental Centro de Coordinación para la Prevención de los Desastres Naturales en America Central, is the coordinating agency for the region. The RAP-CA will start in April 2000 in the Netherlands with an intensive 10-week introductory course for 20 to 25 participants. The main content of this course covers:
The course concentrates on four types of hazard -volcanism, landslides, floods and seismicity- and will be followed by a case study (including fieldwork and map production) in Costa Rica.
After the introductory course and case study, participants will return to their institutions and carry out their usual work, but now using the acquired methodology. Over a period of three years, the RAP-CA will annually organize four one-week meetings (in the Cepredenac countries, and hosted by one of the employer organizations). During these meetings, participants working on the same topics (landslides, floods, etc.) can, in company with the international expert, meet to present achievements in their own work and discuss problems encountered.
To round off the program, in 2003 CEPREDENAC will organize a large Central American specialists meeting, where the RAP-CA achievements will be presented to all institutions in the region working in disaster prevention. A handbook, a self-training package and case history documentation will be made available at that meeting.
The long-term objective is to strengthen the capacity of institutions in the Central American region to participate in national, regional and local development programs for the reduction of vulnerability to natural hazards.
ACTORS IN THIS
REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAM
Key institutions involved in disaster reduction in the eight CEPREDENAC countries: Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.
The program secretariat plans to develop and secure funding for similar regional action programs with institutions in developing countries in other regions of the world.