Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean
Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
OF THE SAN JOSÉ DECLARATION
San José, Costa Rica, 1-5 June 1999
Representatives of the countries of the Americas and other participants in the Hemispheric IDNDR Meeting, gathered in San José, Costa Rica, considered that the hemisphere is a geographical entity in which many natural phenomenagiven the economic, social and institutional vulnerability of the regionhave had, and continue to have, catastrophic consequences of various types and orders of magnitude, and that some of them are recurring events that hinder development. They agreed that the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) has brought about qualitative improvements in the region by raising awareness of the importance of vulnerability reduction and disaster mitigation, although no significant reduction has yet been achieved.
Accordingly, participants declared that in order to achieve sustainable human development, it is critical to adopt policies and strategies aimed at reducing vulnerability, as an integral part of the social and economic development planning and strategies of nations, and that the challenge of reducing the impact of all kinds of disasters is permanent and requires an equally permanent institutional framework at the local, national, regional and global level.
They therefore recommended, among other initiatives, that disaster reduction measures be incorporated into national legal and institutional frameworks, taking into account the different requirements and objectives of disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response. To this effect, governments must strengthen those institutions in charge of disaster management. Furthermore, they must guarantee the functional continuity of such efforts through the permanent allocation of human resources.
Attendees also recommended
that governments include vulnerability and risk management components
in the design of national policies, strategies and development plans.
They urged that a regional culture of prevention and mitigation be promoted
in the educational system and among the general population. Finally, they
called on the United Nations system to continue performing the function
of international coordination and promotion of disaster reduction beyond
the Decade, in order to ensure lasting results, particularly in Latin
America and the Caribbean. In order to achieve this, participants supported
the initiative of establishing an inter-agency coordination mechanism
of an interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral nature, including a strong
and effective component of technical cooperation throughout the region.