Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean
Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Partners in Action: Legislation
Updating the CNEs
National Risk Prevention and Emergency
Costa Rica has the legislation, the qualified human resources, the specialized technology, and the minimum financial resources for the government to incorporate disaster prevention into every one of its activities. What is lacking is a major upgrade of its development policies. On 13 October 1999, the current National Emergency Law, No. 7914, was proclaimed; the challenge, now, is to turn the laws good intentions into actual enforcement.
Recently, the National Risk Prevention and Emergency Management Commission (CNE) called on all interested sectors, agencies, organizations, and individuals to participate in the definition of the emergency prevention, mitigation, and response policies for the next five years. The first step was a seminar to reassess national risk levels and begin updating the National Risk Prevention and Emergency Management Plan.
Afterwards, participants in a 27-28 April 2000 workshop discussed the general policies that should guide the plans objectives, goals, activities, and resources, as well as the assignment of individual responsibilities. All this was done by sectors. The UNDP provided funding and support, with contributions from the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), PAHO/WHO, and other organizations.
A window of opportunity was thus opened through the study and systematization of the latest risk management techniques, enabling the population, the government, and civil society to improve their ability to reduce risk and respond to emergencies. It was also a chance to maximize the existence of current legislation and regulations to consolidate the CNEs role as the national focal point for the full incorporation of disaster prevention into the development model.
By law, the CNEthe state, in more general termshas the ultimate responsibility to reduce risk. But the challenges are not only administrative and financial. Without consulting all stakeholders, and involving them fully in a participatory effort to design and implement the Plan, no government can expect to be able to meet the goal of a less vulnerable environment for all.
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Congress Passes New Risk Reduction And Disaster Response Bill
The lower house of the Bolivian parliament has passed the Risk Reduction and Disaster Response Act, a new bill that analysts expect will be approved by the Senate no later than June 2000.
The Ministry of Defense, the Defense and Armed Forces Committee of the Chamber of Representatives, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) promoted the measure, a fundamental step towards incorporating disaster prevention into all development policies in the South American nation.
According to the new law, anyone whose activities increase the risk of damage or casualties in the event of a natural disaster will now be held accountable for these actions, regardless of whether the entity in question belongs to the public or the private sector. Individual citizens will also be held responsible.
The bill requires all government institutions to commit themselves to implementing risk reduction and disaster prevention measures in all their policies and procedures. It also establishes the National Risk Reduction and Emergency Response System (SISRADE), a loose, decentralized network of governmental and private-sector institutions and civil society organizations dedicated to disaster mitigation and risk reduction.