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


Municipal Disaster Information
System for Latin American and the Caribbean

With a combined population of more than 530 million people, Latin America and the Caribbean represent the regions that are vulnerable to natural hazards. In the last thirty years, large-scale disasters in these regions have caused more than $50 billion in economic losses, and have affected more than 30% of the total population. The situation is even more alarming when one considers the losses from the smaller scale disasters often go unreported.

The Project for Strengthening a Municipal Information System for Disaster Prevention in Latin America and the Caribbean is a joint effort of the International Development Research Center (IDRC), the Secretariat for Environmental Management (SEMA by its Spanish acronym), of the Urban Poverty Pro-gram, and the Regional Disaster Information Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (CRID). This project was developed in response to the increasing, and more complex, responsibilities of municipal governments, with respect to risk situations, and acknowledges that municipalities are the governing bodies closest to the population and, therefore, best to understand their needs.

The primary goal of this project is to strengthen the capacity of municipal governments in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to manage information related to disaster prevention. In addition, the project specific goals are to:

  • Coordinate efforts, and strengthen the exchange of lessons and best practices learned, among municipalities and other regional actors, through means of open and reciprocal communication, on topics related to disaster prevention.
  • Provide free access to relevant and up-to-date information to help local governments in their efforts to reduce and prevent disasters.
  • Promote the implementation of technical tools and training at the municipal level for the management of information related to disasters.
  • Compile, systematize, and disseminate information related to the integrated municipal management of disaster prevention information.

In order to achieve these objectives, and to be able to carry all related activities, three levels of action were defined within the project: regional, national, and municipal. Thus far, the following key actors have been identified: municipal associations and federations, government ministries, non-governmental organizations, national emergency commissions, civil defense, municipal technical staff, and academia.

During the project implementation, the following activities and information products will be produced:

  • User Registry: a registration form to identify participants and their areas of interest.
  • Virtual forum: a virtual space for the exchange of knowledge and experience, based on the participants’ areas of interest.
  • Municipal directory: a compilation of municipalities in the region with basic contact information.
  • Database of information resources: relevant and up-to-date materials.
  • Regional forum: an activity that will help systematize and validate the experience gained during the project.

This virtual space will be available on CRID’s website ( by the end of July 2006.

For further information, please contact:
Regional Disaster Information Center for Latin America and the Caribbean CRID
Irene Céspedes
Jennifer Guralnick