Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean
Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Follow up to the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR)
The World Conference on Disaster Reduction represents a landmark event in worldwide understanding and commitment to implement a disaster reduction agenda. Governments, regional and UN organizations, local authorities, NGOs and experts, as well as international financial institutions, reviewed the progress and shared good practices and experiences in the various fields of disaster reduction. The WCDR channeled the heightened interest created by the devastating earthquake and tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean on 26 December 2004, into concrete commitment to disaster risk reduction.
This commitment was captured in the Hyogo Declaration and the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters, adopted at the WCDR. The Hyogo Framework constitutes an unprecedented conceptual structure that takes account of the complexity of action in disaster risk reduction and the large variety of actors whose inputs are required in the pursuit of this objective. It provides the basic concepts and prescribes an expected outcome.
The Hyogo Framework complements the Yokohama Strategy by identifying the collective and individual roles and responsibilities of key parties in its implementation and follow up. States are primarily responsible for the implementation of the Hyogo Framework. They need to build a strong sense of ownerships by developing deep-rooted collaboration with civil society and ensuring capacity at local government levels to implement national policy. Regional and international organizations, including UN system, international financial institutions and the ISDR system need to provide guidance in the identification of tasks and responsibilities. The Hyogo Framework also outlines specific resource mobilization strategies.
The adoption of the Hyogo Framework has triggered a myriad of disaster risk reduction activities worldwide. Six months after the WCDR, several Governments, UN agencies and regional organizations have already embarked on redefining national plans and strategies and setting up national platforms as well as promotional campaigns to follow up on what was decided in Kobe. The Government of Bangladesh provides a good example of a country that has defined the goals and expected key results of the National Corporate Plan for 2005-2008, drawing from global agendas such as WCDR and Hyogo Framework.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, several countries have started reviewing their national plans to articulate national strategies around the priority areas identified by the Hyogo Framework for Action. Countries such as Costa Rica, Jamaica, Peru and Panama have taken immediate action and are currently planning national or local level activities to discuss how the recommendations of the World Conference can be implemented at the national level.
Other countries, such as El Salvador, Bolivia and Argentina are in the process of creating or strengthening their national platform mechanisms. Brazil is reviewing the national disaster law taking into account the Hyogo Framework for Action.
Many regional organizations have also taken immediate action to implement the Hyogo Framework. Since the WCDR, PAHO/WHO has been actively assisting countries in achieving the goal of "hospitals safe from disasters", and a regional workshop to discuss regional plan was also organized in Panama in April.
In the Andean region, CAPRADE has been active both in pre- and post Kobe activities. During the most recent meeting of CAPRADE, which took place in Peru 25-27 April, the Andean countries agreed that the Andean strategy should be implemented taking into account the Hyogo Framework for Action. In addition, the ISDR secretariat has recently signed a MOU with the Secretariat of the Andean Community, with the objective of strengthening the implementation of ISDR in the Andean subregion.
The Association of Caribbean States (ACS) together with UNDP/BCPR, OCHA, the Civil Defense of Cuba and the ISDR secretariat have organized a Seminar on risk management policies in Cuba on 1-3 June. The three-day
meeting called "Seminar Workshop for National Authorities: Risk Management Policies, Systems and Successful Experiences in the Caribbean" had three main objectives: First, to rationalise policies, systems and positive experiences of the Caribbean regarding risk and disaster management. Second, to evaluate progress made in technologies and building materials. Third, to encourage exchange and co-operation in the area of risk management among the countries of the Caribbean, with support from the United Nations and Co-operation Agencies.
Other Hyogo Framework related activities are planned for the coming months, such as the Regional workshop on Public investment for Risk reduction to be organized in Peru (September)by GTZ in collaboration with ISDR secretariat, CAF, World Bank and many others. Swiss cooperation on collaboration with FEMICA, CEPREDENAC, UNDP and ISDR secretariat is organizing a subregional workshop on Risk Reduction at the local level to be held in Nicaragua in November. Both activities will contribute to the implementation of the Hyogo Framework.
After WCDR, the topic of risk reduction continues to be an important topic in high level political discussions and events. Leaders of the most industrialized countries at the recent G8 Summit (Gleneagles, UK) recognized the importance of disaster risk reduction and called for a strengthening of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. (The full declaration text can be seen at the ISDR website www.unisdr.org)
During the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN, disaster reduction was also highlighted by several high level speakers, such as the ex US president, William J. Clinton, in his capacity of the Secretary General´s Special Envoy for the recovery of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Among other things, President Clinton highlighted the importance of prevention and risk reduction in the context of the recovery of the tsunami stricken countries. He said that, clearly, the effects would have been less devastating if preventing measures has been taken beforehand - if building codes has been adhered to, vegetation had not been cleared from the coasts, there had been more preventive measures, and if early warning systems had been implemented. He called for the implementation of disaster mitigation measures and reminded that in the long term, the implementation of the Hyogo Framework was the key.
During the ECOSOC, a side event on Hyogo Framework was also organized and co-sponsored by the governments of Japan, Switzerland and Jamaica (as the Chair of the G-77), in collaboration with the ISDR secretariat. The objective of the event was to provide updated information to the delegates of ECOSOC on the outcome of the World Conference, and the current status of follow-up activities. Representatives from Bangladesh, Uganda and Jamaica made presentations on how the Hyogo Framework is been implemented in their respective countries or regions.
In order to facilitate the follow up of the WCDR and the implementation of Hyogo Framework, the ISDR secretariat, in consultation with the key partners, has prepared a document entitled "Strategic Directions for the ISDR System to Assist the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters". The document is available at the ISDR website.