International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

2005 - 2004
March - 2004

World Water Day – 22 March 2004: be informed and be prepared
In 2004 World Water Day is focused on the theme of water and disasters. WMO and UN/ISDR are the two leading agencies for the Day’s celebrations, with an information kit available on-line (as well as in hard copy). In Geneva the Day will be celebrated with a round table entitled 'Natural disasters: Is climate change responsible?' organized by the ISDR Secretariat at the International Environment House, as well as a function organized by the World Meteorological Organization in the afternoon.

For more information about World Water Day 2004, please refer to
To receive a copy of the information kit, please contact
For articles, stories and statistics on water and disasters, please refer to the ISDR World Disaster Reduction Campaign on-line information kit

Guidelines for reducing flood losses
On the occasion of World Water Day the publication "Guidelines for reducing flood losses" will be launched in Geneva, New York, Bangkok and Harare. This publication aims at providing decision-makers with a range of options to consider for reducing losses associated with flooding. As an inter-agency effort reflecting the multisectoral nature of disaster risk reduction, the guidelines draw on the experience of various partners including the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (USA NOAA), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR),with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
To download the publication, please refer to
To receive a copy of the publication, please contact

The Road to Kobe-Hyogo: World Conference on Disaster Reduction
In the lead up to the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR, 18-22 January 2005), a regular section will appear in 'ISDR Highlights' providing updates on activities related to the event.
The Bureau for the World Conference on Disaster Reduction was established in early March, comprising delegates from Ecuador, Germany, Iran, Japan (ex-officio as host country), Morocco and the Russian Federation.

Important dates to note are the First Preparatory Committee to be held 6-7 May 2004 in Geneva, with the second planned for 11-12 October (Geneva).

In February a questionnaire survey to national governments was circulated by the ISDR Secretariat, requesting national information on the current status of disaster risk reduction in their country. UNDP as well as other UN and regional partners are standing by to assist in the completion of the survey, which will contribute to the conclusion of the review of the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action culminating at the WCDR.

To download the WCDR first announcement, please click here

2004 UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction
Nominations are still being accepted for the 2004 UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction. Join us in rewarding individuals and institutions from around the world who contributed, through innovative practices and outstanding initiatives, to reducing the risk and vulnerabilities of communities to natural hazards!
To download the nomination form (available in English/French/Russian/Spanish), please refer to
For further information on the UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction, please refer to

Risk management, urban development and public policy
The UNESCO’s Cross-Cutting Transversal Initiative: Reduction of Natural Disasters in Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean is an international, multi-disciplinary project that promotes the incorporation of risk management as an integral part of public policy as well as city development plans and processes. Implemented in close collaboration with local authorities, experts, and institutions in Tijuana (Mexico), Antofagasta (Chile), Kathmandu (Nepal) and Dehradun (India), the initiative’s progress was reviewed on at a symposium on 19-22 January.
For further information on the initiative, please contact Carlos Villacis

Small island developing states and disaster risk reduction
In August 2004, the international community will convene in Mauritius at the International Meeting for the 10-year Review of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Recent regional preparatory meetings highlighted actions taken and the challenges faced in the implementation of BPoA, and the 12th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (New York, 14-16 April) will be the final phase of preparations for the meeting. The ISDR Secretariat prepared a Background Consultative Paper to support SIDS delegations in this process entitled 'Small Island Developing States, Disasters, Risk and Vulnerability'.
To download the paper, please refer to
For more information on SIDS and the Mauritius meeting, please refer to

New CRED website
The Center for Research on the Epidemiology for Disasters (CRED) of the University of Louvain, Brussels has launched their new website. The new user-friendly site contains a wealth of information including EM-DAT: the International Disaster Database, Disasters of the Week, CRED publications and more. To access the website, please refer to

World Bank speaks out
Extreme events like floods and earthquakes are inevitable - but the devastation that follows may not be. Margaret Arnold, head of the World Bank's Hazard Management Unit, will be online at 11am EST on March 16 to discuss what can be done to curb the devastation of natural disasters. To access the on-line discussion please refer to

Practical disaster risk management training
TorqAid, an Australian overseas aid consultancy, will be running a Practical Disaster Risk Management (PDRM) workshop in Torquay, Australia from the 27-29 April. It will look at the practicalities of developing Disaster Risk Management Plans and at global best practices. The PDRM follows on from a similar workshop held in South Africa in early February.
For information on this Torquay workshop please contact Chris Piper (, or for booking places, contact Laura Connor on

ISDR Highlights is a monthly email update on current news in disaster reduction published by the Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR).
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