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

Partners in Action


Hemispheric Plan for Environmental Management Guidance of Road Transportation Corridors

The Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment (USDE) supports the member states of the OAS in promoting trade corridor development —an emerging regional planning unit— by contributing to an understanding of environmental concerns related to road corridors, identifying existing knowledge and expertise in the region, and promoting corridor development which is resilient to natural hazards. Transportation corridors are important in light of the increasing number and complexity of trade agreements being signed in the Americas, and the resulting increase in transported goods.

The Hemispheric Plan for Environmental Management Guidance of Road Transportation Corridors is a guide to establishing policy, procedures, and standards based on the experiences to date of OAS member states in the environmental management of road corridors.

The Plan is divided into four areas: 1) a handbook containing policies, planning processes or procedures, projects (case studies), and preparedness for emergencies; 2) an annotated bibliography; 3) a matrix classifying the documents in the bibliography; and 4) a section on the implementation and development of the Plan.

The Handbook comprises five chapters. Chapter 1 is the Introduction; Chapter 2 discusses the institutional reorganizations required to ensure effective environmental management of transport corridors, and then assesses the policies needed for implementing this form of environmental management. Chapter 3 deals with environmental-management planning and looks at mitigation measures to reduce the direct and indirect environmental impact on roads; it also analyzes the existing guidelines for producing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) to determine the vulnerability to natural hazards of road corridors in Latin America. Chapter 4 discusses the application of guidelines on environmental management of road corridors, and presents case studies illustrating one or more of the guidelines. Chapter 5 deals with emergency preparedness as part of the environmental management of trade corridors.

The guidelines cover the best ways of responding to emergencies caused by natural hazards as well as man-made disasters related to industrial accidents or the transport of hazardous materials.
The Annotated Bibliography is a database of documents that have been prepared by the Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment, the Natural Hazards Project and others in the areas of transportation corridor vulnerability mitigation and the environmental management of transportation corridors. It includes handbooks, periodical publications, research papers, conference proceedings, technical and policy guidelines, standards, and regulations. The Matrix complements the Bibliography by defining the issues covered in the documents in the Bibliography and listing the appropriate references.

The section on the implementation and development of the Plan presents the actions needed to:

  • Complete the drafting of the Environmental Management Guidebook.
  • Prepare an executive summary of the Plan to promote its key concepts.
  • Establish the committees needed to guide the completion of the Plan and the drafting of the executive summary.
  • Develop follow-up mechanisms for the Plan and its components.

During the Fourth Ibero-American Meeting of Environmental Units in the Transport Sector, held on 19-24 November 2000 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, the Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment of the OAS (OAS/USDE) transferred to the Latin American Society of Environmental Units in the Transport Sector (SLUAT) the mandate to continue coordinating the production of the final draft of the Hemispheric Plan. SLUAT delegated the task to a Plan Advisory Committee (CAPLAN) that will be in charge of disseminating the document, revising it, and collecting feedback on it. The Committee is made up of representatives from several countries and international organizations, and is currently working on revising the Guidebook and incorporating new methodologies into the final draft.

For more information, please contact:
Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment
of the Organization of American States (OAS/USDE)