Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean
Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
The Cross-cutting Theme Initiative: Reduction of Natural Disaster in Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean
The escalation of severe disasters triggered by natural hazards is increasingly threatening human security and sustainable development. Thousands of lives are lost each year, of which more than 90% are in developing countries. Tremendous damage is destroying the living conditions of millions of people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Population growth and rapid and unplanned urbanization are exposing more people to hazards in cities, threatening the stability of their lives. Disasters can turn the development clock backwards, and often times the lack of sound planning is the main cause of increasing disaster risk.
Considering this, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in the framework of the United Nations Interna-tional Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), is implementing an international, multi- disciplinary project entitled The Cross- cutting Theme Initiative: Reduction of Natural Disasters in Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
The goal of the Initiative is to preserve sustainable development and reduce poverty through the reduction of the impact of natural disasters by incorporating risk management as an integral part of public policy as well as city development plans and processes. In its current initial phase, the project is focused on the following participant cities: Antofagasta, Chile; Dehradun, India; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Tijuana, Mexico.
of the end products of this project will be recommendations to the local
governments on normative actions that should be undertaken in terms of
urban planning and citizen empowerment in order to enhance disaster reduction.
Main activites of the initiative
The project builds on previous achievements made with respect to risk management in cities. In particular, it uses the results of the Risk
The cities selected for the current initial phase of the initiative belong to the RADIUS network of cities and are the following ones:
In each of the participating cities, the project will:
Train local leaders and experts in the use and application of the RADIUS
earthquake damage assessment tool.
The project’s program of activities is presented in Fig. 1. The three main phases of the project, namely preparation, risk evaluation, and incorporation of risk management in urban planning, are indicated in the figure. A Mid-term meeting was recently held after concluding the risk evaluation phase.
The project started in each city with the visit by the project coordinator to:
Meet with the local authorities to introduce and explain the project to
The MID-TERM meeting
In order to draw lessons from the work done so far and prepare for a potential longer-term initiative, a mid-term meeting was held on 25-26 September 2003, at UNESCO Headquarters in France that allowed city representatives to report on their progress and share their experiences.
Presentation, discussion, and evaluation of work carried out to date by
each participating city
The recommendations produced in the Mid-Term meeting will be used by the cities to complete the project’s last phase, that is, the incorporation of risk management measures to the cities’ development plans. Once again, city authorities, institutions, and technical experts will be involved in this process. The final recommendations produced by the project in each city will be then presented to the community in public workshops to validate them and obtain community support for their implementation.
The project will conclude by the end of this year with another international symposium to be held in one of the participating cities. Representatives of the four cities will be invited to this event to present the results, findings and recommendations produced by the project to the international community and decide what should be done next, both locally and in collaboration with the other cities.
pilot project will be used to promote and prepare the implementation of
a proposed large-scale, long-term initiative that will include:
This proposed large-scale initiative would be implemented in two phases. The first phase would have a duration of three years and the participation of a dozen cities worldwide. The second phase would include the continuing and progressive incorporation of more cities to this initiative until achieving the initiative’s long-term vision of cities worldwide adopting an effective and recognized mechanism to a) improve governance through better use and application of existing knowledge, and b) contribute to sustainable development by significantly reducing the losses due to natural disasters.