International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

2005 - 2004

March - 2005

Follow up to the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, 18-22 January 2005

WCDR partnerships

Partnerships in the context of WCDR are specific commitments and initiatives by a number of institutions at different levels to contribute to, and reinforce the implementation of the disaster risk reduction goals and targets stipulated in the Hyogo Framework of Action, building on existing or new partnerships in the field of disaster risk reduction. UN/ISDR encourages existing and potential new partnerships in disaster management, vulnerability and other related areas and invites partners to register their initiatives with the partnership programmed of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), as well as inform UN/ISDR to further promote, disseminate, support and follow-up partnerships working in these areas.For information on how to register, please refer to

UN/ISDR 2005 calendar
The UN/ISDR 2005 calendar presents 14 images selected from over 450 artworks submitted for an international art contest for young people aged 16 and under. The contest was organized by the ISDR secretariat in conjunction with the media organization Entico as part of the 2004 World Disaster Reduction Campaign, which focused on the theme of education. 42 of the artworks were displayed as part of the Public Forum at the WCDR.To view the artworks selected for the calendar and the WCDR Public Forum exhibition, please seeTo download the entire calendar (in pdf format), please refer to

2005 nomination process of the UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction
Nomination booklets are now available for the annual nomination process of the UN Sasakawa for Disaster Reduction. Join us in rewarding individuals and institutions from around the world that contributed, through innovative practices and outstanding initiatives, to reducing the risk and vulnerabilities of communities to natural hazards! Nomination forms are available in English, French and Spanish at and must be submitted by 29 July 2005.For further information on the UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction, please refer to: or contact

Intensive training programme on Disaster Reduction with focus on floods and droughts, Prague, June-July 2005
This workshop is sponsored by the Czech Government, the Central European Disaster Prevention Forum (CEUDIP) and UN/ISDR, and supported by UNESCO. It is designed for students and professionals who want to enhance their knowledge of disaster risk reduction and will have a focus on disasters triggered by hydro meteorological hazards. The course will be held in Prague, from the June 24th to July 1st, at the School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Agriculture Prague. Lectures will be delivered by professors from Czech Republic, Austria and experts from USA and UN agencies. For more information you can contact Ms. Michalkova (Tel. +420-224382147; +420224 382148, Fax: +420 234-381 854, E-mail:

World Water Day – 22 March 2005
The Water Sanitation and Health Unit at the World Health Organization is pleased to announce and launch, on behalf of UN-Water, "Celebrating Water for Life: The International Decade for Action 2005-2015" advocacy guide. The guide is a comprehensive resource intended to support and facilitate national and local celebrations to mark and celebrate the Water for Life Decade to be launched on World Water Day, 22 March 2005.To download the advocacy guide, please refer to

Japan hosts dialogue on tsunami early warning system
On 22-24 February UN/ISDR organized the Dialogue for High Level Administrative Policy Makers on Establishing a Tsunami Early Warning System in the Indian Ocean in Tokyo, in cooperation with the Japanese Cabinet Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ADRC. The meeting provided an opportunity for technical and administrative representatives from the Indian Ocean basin tsunami-affected countries to learn about Japan's considerable experience in alerting communities and responding to tsunami events to enhance their own early warning capabilities. Issues discussed at the Dialogue were pursued in a larger international dimension during the International Meeting for Tsunami Early Warning convened by IOC/UNESCO from 3-8 March in Paris.Further information from

Paris meeting agrees tsunami alert plan, timetable for Indian Ocean
Experts from the United Nations and the Indian ocean countries affected by the December tsunami gathered in Paris on 3-8 March 2005 to decide the ground rules for establishing a tsunami warning network in the Indian Ocean. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) organized the five-day meeting with support from the secretariat of ISDR and other UN organizations at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris. The meeting agreed on a communiqué that sets out a package of principles that will allow immediate action on the development of a system by the end of next year. It was agreed that the system should be based on national tsunami centres and the free exchange of necessary data among countries. Participants also agreed that the tsunami warning system had to include substantial awareness raising and public education, in order that warnings were understood and acted upon. The system also had to be well integrated into other types of warning systems and to national disaster management systems, consistent with the guidance of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Another meeting will be held in Mauritius in April to settle the details of the plans and to clarify the responsibilities of national, sub-regional and regional warning centers.For further information refer to:

26 December tsunami provokes high jump in disaster death figures
More than 320,000 people perished last year in 366 natural disasters, according to figures announced today in Geneva by the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) based in Brussels. The number of deaths is still provisional as the death toll for the December tsunami in the Indian Ocean is not yet definitive. The tsunami took the lives of around 300,000 people out of the 320,000 total people killed by disasters last year. The number of affected people by disasters is nevertheless lower than the previous year, with more than 139 million people affected in 2004, significantly less than the 254 million people affected in 2003.For further information and statistics from CRED and the International Disaster Database EM-DAT, please refer to

WMO to host the Secretariat of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO)
The third Global Earth Observation Summit (GEO-III) met in Brussels on 16 February 2005. The Summit met for the first time in 2003, when thirty-three nations plus the European Commission adopted a Declaration that signifies political commitment to move toward development of a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustained Earth observation system(s). The Summit committed to enhance the coordination between existing systems, and complement information where needed, to monitor continuously the state of the Earth, to increase understanding of dynamic Earth processes, to enhance prediction of the Earth system, and to further implement environmental treaty obligations. To further this goal, the Summit participants launched in 2003 the inter-governmental ad hoc Group on Earth Observations (GEO) that developed a 10-Year Implementation Plan n the context of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), co-chaired by the United States, the European Commission, Japan, and South Africa and joined by more than 21 international organizations (including ISDR). The plan was adopted at GEO-III in Brussels. The US NOAA in Washington initially hosted the secretariat. GEO-III announced that WMO would host the Secretariat of the intergovernmental GEO as of Mid-2005. The Secretariat will oversee the 10-year implementation plan. WMO will be the venue for the initial meeting of the GEO from 2 to 4 May 2005. See more:,,

UN/ISDR web statistics
The world Conference on Disaster reduction has created a lot of interest and multiplied by five the number of people who have been consulting the website during the month of January 2005.

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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