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



Sustainable Local Development as a Factor in Disaster Risk Reduction: Focus and Activities of the Delnet Program, International Training Center/ILO

Delnet is a local development and decentralization support program run by the International Training Center of the International Labor Organization (ILO), one of the United Nations’ specialized agencies. In its eight years of working to promote local development and decentralization, Delnet has established a network of more than 1,700 people and institutions in 71 countries.

In recent years, decentralization and the transfer of competencies from central to local administrations has represented a continuous trend all over the world. As a result, local governments are taking on increasing responsibilities for the development of their territories and improving the quality of life of their residents. Fulfilling these tasks requires the availability of human and institutional capacity for the efficient management of resources, taking into account not only economic factors but social, cultural, and environmental elements as well.

Delnet provides training and facilitates access to global and local knowledge, in order to help local actors offer better solutions to problems related to the development of their territories. The program’s services of training, information, technical assistance and networking are intended for a large number of experts, managers, and officials of public and private institutions involved in local development, such as municipalities, provincial and regional governments, private sector organizations, NGOs, research centers and universities.

The growing concern in our societies about the recurrence of disasters, their negative effects, the number of victims, and the losses caused to livelihoods, the economy, infrastructure, and the environment has now become an evident demand for information and training on disaster risk reduction at the local level. In response to this demand, Delnet —which, together with the ILO’s Crisis Response and Reconstruction Program (ILO/CRISIS) joined the International Recovery Platform1 (IRP)— created a specialized program aimed at promoting sustainable local development as an essential element for disaster risk reduction.

Based on the international recognition of the importance of sustainable local development in disaster risk reduction, Delnet is directing its course offerings toward a focus on risk management that promotes structural changes, both in vulnerable societies and among the international organizations that support them, so that they are able to manage future risks more effectively and create conditions for a more sustainable development. The following is a description of two concrete initiatives that are already underway this year:

• Special edition of the journal@local.glob – Global Thinking for Local Development: “Disaster Risk Reduction: a Call to Action.” Delnet’s semi-annual journal@local.glob began in April 2005 with the goal of facilitating an open space for opinions, exchange, and thought for supporting the processes of decentralization and local development in a globalized world. Each edition is devoted to a concrete issue related to local sustainable development and is made possible thanks to the collaboration of people and institutions who demonstrate, in their daily work, a strong commitment to the processes of decentralization and development of their territories.

The special edition titled “Disaster Risk Reduction: A Call to Action” was prepared jointly with the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) and members of the International Recovery Platform (IRP). Its goal is to promote a

global debate on how to accelerate a common collaboration and coordination process at local, national, regional and international levels, with regards to the application of the Hyogo Framework for Action and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. This edition was presented during a special session of the UN Economic and Social Council (Geneva, July 19, 2006) devoted to the ISDR system and the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action.

The journal is available online in English and will soon be available in Spanish, Portuguese and French at:

• A Training course on disaster risk reduction in the framework of sustainable local development. This course will be offered for the first time in October 2006 as part of Delnet’s “Specialization in Sustainable Local Development and Disaster Risk Reduction.” Developed within the framework of the ISDR, the course is directed at the Central American and the Caribbean region, with the goal of spurring policies and actions to reduce disaster risk at the local level, promoting sustainable local development, and strengthening processes of participatory strategic planning.

The course will be taught in Spanish and will include 200 hours of study over a five-month period. It will be made up of both on-site lessons at the ILO’s International Training Center in Turin, Italy, as well as distance learning during the two months before and two months after the on-site session. The content is developed around an integrated approach to disaster risk reduction, conceived as a continuous process of planning, decision making, and promotion of actions before, during, and after a destructive event or catastrophe. In the context of collaboration efforts between Delnet and ILO/CRISIS, in support of the IRP, the course devotes part of its content to postdisaster reconstruction, under-stood as an opportunity to pro-mote sustainable local development and recovery from a transformation standpoint.

For more information on course offerings and registration,
visit:, or write to

1 The International Recovery Platform was created based on the Hyogo Framework for Action to facilitate the integration of risk reduction factors in post-disaster recovery operations. The two programs, Delnet ITC/ILO and ILO/CRISIS became members in May 2005, and coordinate all the Platform’s activities related to capacity building in order to contribute to strengthening international, national, and local actors in risk management and reduction, as well as their capacities especially during recovery and reconstruction phases.

2 This course was designed for participants from the following countries: Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Gulf Coast of Mexico and the