Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean
Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Partners in Action
Salvador: The Creation of the National
The earthquakes that shook El Salvador at the beginning of 2002 were but the most devastating in a long series of natural and environmental disasters that have struck the Central American country and, with their toll of death and destruction, have continually set back all development efforts.
Ironically, only a few months earlier, on 18 October 2001, the government had established the National Service of Territorial Studies (SNET). Had it been up and running, it is quite likely that the devastation would not have been so severe.
The new agency integrates the competencies of several previously segregated government departments. Geology has been moved from the Ministry of Public Works; hydrology and meteorology, from the Ministry of Agriculture. Disaster management has been added to the mix, so that the information provided by the geosciences on existing hazards is linked to vulnerability assessments in order to produce territorial scenarios that can serve as the basis for policies, strategies and programmes for disaster reduction within the framework of sustainable urban and rural development.
Research, particularly applied research, and the ongoing monitoring of territorial dynamicsthe concrete expression of geological, environmental and socioeconomic processeswill be two of SNETs main activities in collaboration with the national government, local governments, academia, the private sector, and civil society. The objective is to apply well-tested methods, as well as experiment with new ones, to promote the best possible use of the resources available to the various sectors of society and determine their most effective roles based on their comparative advantages.
It is clear that SNETs
success will depend on a close alignment with Salvadoran society. An External
Consultative Group has been established to enable all stakeholders to
have a say in the projects, processes and products of the new agency.
Another bridge is provided by the Technical Coordination Committees, specialized
teams comprising representatives of government, universities, professional
guilds and non-governmental organizations that will produce information
on risk from the point of view of both the geophysical and social sciences.
The information will serve as a key input into the SNET process.
One idea that has yet to be fully defined is to also have an external technical evaluation committee, made up of top-level international professionals who can meet with SNET management once a year to evaluate the quality of the agencys processes and products.
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