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

Newsletter for Latin America and the Caribbean        Inssue No. 15, 1999


Hemispheric IDNDR Meeting: Towards Natural Disaster Reduction in the Americas Into the 21st Century
Summary of Achievements and Challenges in the Region
Summary of the National Reports Presented by Official Country Delegates: Experiences, Advances and Challenges
Common Challenges in the Three Sub Regions
About Policy and Disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean
Conclusions about Vulnerable Cities, Urban Policies and Community Participation
Conclusions on the Role of Reconstruction for Sustainable Reduction of Natural Disasters
Challenges for Disaster Mitigation in Health Facilities: Vulnerability Assessments and Mitigation
Conclusions about Advances in Disaster Mitigation in Water Supply and Sanitation Systems
Conclusions about Effective Early-Warning Systems
Proposal for Organization and Action in the Field of Risk Management in Primary, Secondary and Higher Education
Information and Disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean Trends and Relevant Aspects
Policies, Mechanisms and Instruments for Prevention: Economic Aspects


Hemispheric IDNDR Meeting: Towards Natural Disaster Reduction in the Americas Into the 21st Century

During the 1990-1999 Decade, thanks to the support of many collaborating regional, international, national and non-governmental organizations, the Americas witnessed the launching of many joint initiatives, exchanges, educational programmes and scientific and technical cooperation agreements. The IDNDR served as a platform to promote closer ties among governments, NGOs, community organizations, international organizations and the private sector, in order to work jointly on risk reduction projects and programmes.

The closing of the Decade brought with it a series of regional and thematic meetings in 1999 to evaluate the achievements so far and the challenges ahead. They culminated in the IDNDR Programme Forum, which was held in Geneva in July 1999. ECOSOC, in its substantive session of the same month, ratified the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) and agreed that this Strategy should be part of the United Nations’ permanent development efforts (see separate story). The Hemispheric Meeting of the Americas allowed participants to evaluate the work done so far, exchange experiences and ideas, and make plans for the 21st Century in disaster and risk reduction. The meeting was held during the first week in June 1999 in San José, Costa Rica, with the participation of 630 people, including official delegates, technical and academic experts, community leaders, NGOs and multilateral agencies from 33 countries.

The organizers of the meeting were the government of Costa Rica, the National Emergency Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UN International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).

Co-sponsors included the Resource Centre for the Sustainable Development of Human Settlements in Central America (CERCA-CDP-UNCHS-Habitat), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Coordination Centre for Natural Disaster Prevention in Central America (CEPREDENAC), the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), the Quebec Commercial Bureau for Central America (Canada), the Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Network for Social Studies for Disaster Prevention (LA RED) helped to co-sponsor the meeting through parallel sessions, workshops and/or financing. British, Canadian and Swedish Development Agencies (DFID, CIDA and SIDA) were part of sponsoring organizations.

After several days of discussions and consensus building among the participants, including official delegates, agency representatives and other stakeholders, a Final Declaration was agreed upon, including a widespread desire for the demilitarization of disaster response, as revealed in the following paragraph:

Participants recommend:
To bring to the attention of the United Nations the attribution of special recognition to those countries that reorient part of their defense budget to disaster reduction.

To read the full text of the San José Declaration, go to and click on the links labeled Proceedings, or send a request to the editor of this magazine.

List of the Countries that Participated in the Hemispheric Meeting
British Virgin Islands
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Netherlands Antilles
Saint Kitts-Nevis
Trinidad & Tobago
United States
U.S. Virgin Islands

Some of the conclusions and recommendations for the future of Latin
America and the Caribbean in disaster reduction are summarized below.

Summary of Achievements and Challenges in the Region (PAHO/WHO, OAS, SICA, Ibero American Association for Civil Protection)

  • Although disasters are assessed in human and social terms, the economic and political dimensions of such events tend to impose themselves when it comes to making decisions. The principles of disaster mitigation and vulnerability reduction are universal; their application, however, depends on the language spoken, the prevailing culture, and the economic wellbeing of the country in question. There are no standard solutions that fit both “developed” and “developing” countries.
  • At the same time, a culture of prevention requires a collective attitude that can only be the result of a prolonged social process. Within this process, key factors include the wide dissemination of information about disasters, as well as a growing participation by civil society. The expansion of the Internet has played a key role in the management of recent disasters, mainly by promoting a more equal approach to communication and power-sharing among agencies, countries, local communities and individuals.
  • Much remains to be done. We need a stronger national commitment to disaster reduction, including the necessary political will and legal framework. Resources for disaster prevention need to be explicitly allocated.
  • The commitment of policy-makers tends to diminish with each passing day in the aftermath of a disaster. Disaster prevention and mitigation require different skills and attitudes from those demanded by emergency response. Logistics cannot be disregarded. Operational capacity must be in place. But there is also a need for patience, determination, discipline – even a sense of urgency when there is no short-term emergency to trigger it. Urban planning, economics, engineering, policy-making – these are all disciplines that must play a role, and cannot be tapped in haste by an institution that has been isolated by the onset of a disaster or, worse still, is isolated by nature.
  • The future requires synergy between environmental protection and disaster reduction. Response mechanisms need to be strengthened through the participation of civil society. The vision that must prevail cannot be exclusively economical, but must take into account all relevant social and human issues. At the international level, the United Nations must provide the necessary support to encourage strong subregional organizations and technical cooperation mechanisms for disaster reduction.
  • In recent years, the region has seen intense theoretical-conceptual and practical activity aimed at disaster reduction. Momentum has been aided, among other factors, by advances in knowledge production, including interdisciplinary links hard to find in other fields, as well as innovative forms of social participation and greater awareness among the citizenry, all of which have been motivated by the occurrence of several major disasters.
  • However, this rich accumulation of experiences and efforts runs the risk of fragmentation into multiple, scattered initiatives, degrading its major potential strength: that of systematizing a variety of disciplines and capabilities. It is therefore essential to promote this systematization throughout the various levels of decision making in order to make the socially responsible management of disaster prevention a reality.
  • For these purposes, it is necessary to promote a socially coordinated process of research and planning, as a foundation to create the conditions of viability and feasibility required to make advances in this sector. Such a process must go through several levels of integration, so that the short-term operational units (projects) can be linked according to their mutual affinity in programmes, and these in turn can find their strategic directionality in national plans.
  • On the other hand, we have enough information to set priorities concerning the chief problems in the creation and evaluation of these planning instruments and in calling on the various social stakeholders who can intervene in its implementation.


Summary of the National Reports Presented by Official Country Delegates: Experiences, Advances and Challenges

Participants agreed that the Decade provided a framework for promoting disaster management from a preventive point of view involving all sectors and stakeholders at the national, local and community level.

Countries provided detailed reports on the actions undertaken within the IDNDR framework. Although each country has its own geographical and climate characteristics, it was agreed that the most common hazards in the region are floods, landslides, drought, and technological hazards brought about by increasing industrial development. The El Niño Phenomenon is a recurring event that has considerable impact on the region, although it also has positive effects that must be exploited.

Some countries in the region reinforced their emergency plans and programmes to the point where they were even able to help neighbouring countries, highlighting the region’s capabilities, strengths and opportunities to deal with disasters.
Certain advances were identified in the field of higher education, where there has been a greater openness to careers involving civil protection and disaster management in general. Participants also underscored the advances made in the development of risk maps and bibliographical and reference material.

Improvements took place in the organization and planning of the institutions involved in disaster management, complementing the efforts undertaken in the past 20 years. In most countries, permanent and systematic efforts are underway to create new legal, administrative and policy structures that will increase the effectiveness, timeliness and coordination of disaster reduction tasks.

A greater emphasis has been placed on prevention and mitigation. Greater investments have been made in infrastructural retrofitting and reinforcement, and important improvements have taken place in response capacity and early warning systems.

Local organization at the municipal and community level for disaster prevention and mitigation has been strengthened, particularly in the fields of training, education, and information.

International agencies’ credit systems have been strengthened. However, two weaknesses remain: lack of resources to follow up on prevention and response measures, and out-of-date legislation that does not provide sufficient autonomy to disaster management organizations.


Common Challenges in the Three Subregions
(based on the national reports)

  • • Continue to build disaster response capacity, particularly in the fields of prevention and mitigation, including risk assessments and strategy development. Integrate prevention and mitigation into all environmental protection and sustainable development plans. Include the “risk “ variable in development projections.
  • Follow up on plans and projects launched during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, with international support.
  • Increase the availability of human and financial resources, including the participation of professionals, scientists and technicians in each relevant field, and improve forecasting and early warning systems.
  • Seek support for disaster prevention and mitigation projects involving international agencies and local NGOs.
  • Develop the necessary legal framework to facilitate disaster reduction, including the cross-sectoral revision of all pertinent legislation.
  • Strengthen cooperation and coordination among the nations in the hemisphere. Caribbean countries, for example, agreed on the need for greater subregional integration in disaster prevention. Ecuador recommended the establishment of an International Centre for the Study of the El Niño Phenomenon. Participants also recommended that Andean Pact countries get together to develop a project for subregional integration in civil protection and defense, and they recommended the appointment of regional technical and scientific committees dedicated to disaster reduction.
  • Establish inter-institutional coordination mechanisms among international relief agencies.
  • Introduce disaster prevention and mitigation into all relevant curricula in every country, from grade school to higher education. Promote a culture of disaster prevention through specific programs, in all countries where no such programs exist at present.
  • Encourage the media to promote a culture of disaster prevention, by creating training programs for journalists.
  • Involve other sectors, such as the insurance industry, in disaster prevention and mitigation activities, so as to facilitate risk assessment and reduce the costs of natural disasters.
  • Strengthen urban and rural human settlement planning, given the increase of population in the region.
  • Standardize disaster prevention and mitigation terminology throughout the region.
  • Develop mechanisms for the ongoing training of emergency and disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response personnel.
  • Strengthen the multi-sectoral participation of national-level institutions entrusted with emergency and disaster response.
  • Improve the monitoring of natural phenomena at the local and regional level.


About Policy and Disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean (OFDA, Quebec, CERCA, Central American Community Network)

Towards the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, civil defense organizations began to appear throughout Latin America, within the framework of the growing number of military governments and a regional rise in the political power of the armed forces. With a focus on civil protection, some of these institutions began to assume specific police functions, and later took on responsibilities for disaster relief. Others were formed as specialized units directly under the jurisdiction of the military forces.

National emergency relief organizations grew out of the need to have civil structures able to effect multi-sectoral integration. In some cases, they were formed out of a natural collection of mutually interested parties; in other cases, they were created in imitation of modalities already being used in other countries, as a means of effecting swift official organization. This latter scenario gave rise to hybrid structures that mixed certain innovative characteristics with characteristics of traditional civil defense organizations.

Currently, both types of organizations exist in the region, covering a spectrum from purely military, or paramilitary, structures to inter-institutional organizations. Despite these differences, there is a predominant focus on disaster response preparation governed by a general discourse that highlights the importance of prevention and relief.

In sum, we are in the midst of an ongoing process of organizational adjustment. The challenge remains of improving the prevention and response capabilities of existing structures, but within a broader and more comprehensive strategy that integrates the responsibilities and duties of organized communities.

Risk management opens new possibilities, when understood as a strategy designed to affect the conditions that determine the types of risks posed by specific disasters. Advancing the work of risk management requires interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral collaboration that takes on a sense of social worth and does not rest solely on the shoulders of institutions.

It is important to foster political will for disaster management, which integrates its social and economic aspects within the framework of the changing paradigm currently under development. This paradigm re-conceptualizes the nature of disasters, turning them into focal points of the political agendas in affected countries. The issue of disasters must be addressed, analyzed and then converted into real public policies that help solve the underlying problems. Furthermore, this paradigm includes within it the new and implicit conflicts that emerge with the conceptualization of disasters as processes. These ideological conflicts—over power, increased costs and the use of resources—must be overcome as part of the means of finding a way for the involved actors to work together as a team.

Community representatives expressed their concern that Latin American governments have systematically bypassed local communities in all matters pertaining to disasters, even though “the worst disasters for communities” are the social and economic policies that impoverish local communities, increasing their vulnerability.


Conclusions about Vulnerable Cities, Urban Policies and Community Participation

We live in a time of change when we must constantly face the new challenges posed by development, promoting important transformations to distribute its benefits in an equitable manner to the majority of the population, especially in the provision of decent and secure housing for all. To this end it is essential to expand and consolidate the spaces and mechanisms for social and political participation at all levels.

This was decided at the Seventh Meeting of MINURVI (Regional Meeting of Ministers and Authorities of the Housing Sector and Urban Development of Latin America and the Caribbean). At that meeting, community participation was established as one of the main thematic areas for the definition of national strategies by the Housing Sector, vulnerability to natural disasters and land use.

Many problems must be overcome before there can be a true strengthening of community participation in risk management, particularly given the threat of manipulation through top-down communication, the official recognition of “representatives” that do not necessary respect the will of the community, a lack of vertical communication linking the various organizations working in this field, and initiatives that are motivated more by partisan vote-getting than by the desire to improve quality of life at the community level.

Conclusions and Challenges

  • City planning based on watersheds offers advantages over that based on administrative divisions.
  • Land use regulation is a key factor in disaster prevention and mitigation. It also strengthens the role of the municipalities and communities in disaster prevention and mitigation.
  • It is necessary to train municipalities and communities, making technical language uniform and accessible to the population.
  • It is necessary to produce and disseminate timely technical hazard information to authorities and communities, to aid in the decision-making process.
  • Local governments must budget funds for emergency preparedness. Authority, jurisdiction and resources must be given at the local level, because of the demonstrated efficiency and importance of so doing.
  • In many cases there must be more political will to apply current land use and zoning legislation in order to prevent and mitigate disasters.


Conclusions on the Role of Reconstruction for Sustainable Reduction of Natural Disasters (UNDP, La RED)

The many dimensions of the reconstruction process, unless they are approached from a systemic point of view, often lead to situations in which dealing with some of the problems actually has a negative impact on other problems. The reconstruction of the social fabric, local culture and identity, and other psychosocial factors among refugees and migrants, is one of the most complex and less thoroughly explored aspects of disaster response. The lack of information about this vital subject means that while cities are rebuilt and families are relocated, individuals and groups must cope in isolation with the phenomenal task of rebuilding their cultural and social identity, even their basic sense of self.

Reconstruction processes are a window of opportunity for countries and social groups to reduce their poverty and social and economic segregation by gaining access to otherwise unavailable funds. However, such opportunities are wasted unless the intervening institutions display some sensitivity towards the cultural characteristics of the society in question. Similar problems may occur if humanitarian agencies perpetuate or increase dependency on foreign aid by discouraging autonomy and empowerment.


  • For populations to have a friendlier relationship with their environment, and not a predatory approach, we must build local capacity and encourage decentralized community management.
  • We must not “rebuild risk”. Conditions need to be in place to transform reconstruction efforts, reducing or eliminating risk and building greater local capacity, freedom and autonomy to seek a greater balance between society and nature.
  • We must look carefully at the right of communities to design their own reconstruction and transformation processes within a framework of respect for their own culture, organization and needs. If the matter is not handled with sensitivity, the provision of supplies and other aid might have a negative impact on social organization or increase dependency.
  • Reconstruction strategies, particularly those pertaining to livelihoods and communication, must show a greater respect for the environment. All investments must contribute to the health of ecosystems, rather than to their further erosion. Reconstruction, as a complex process, must be multisectoral, inter-institutional and highly participatory. International financial institutions must support such approaches.
  • Poverty, unemployment, economic migration or spatial and social segregation must be reduced if disaster mitigation is to be truly effective. All private and public sector activities must be guided by a risk management perspective.


Challenges for Disaster Mitigation in Health Facilities: Vulnerability Assessments and Mitigation (PAHO/WHO)

  • Many countries still need to carry out demonstration projects to build the technical capacity needed to motivate decision-makers and encourage the kinds of actions needed for effective hospital mitigation. Physical and functional (non-structural) risk assessment and mitigation must become more closely intertwined in health facilities, and networking and the exchange of success stories and lessons learned must continue to be promoted among health and disaster reduction professionals in the region.
  • Mitigation projects must be based on reliable information about existing hazards and their characteristics. Seismic and meteorological monitoring networks must be established to guide risk assessment and mitigation. Current building codes and other legislation may provide baseline criteria for physical protection, but do not provide real protection for investments or basic services.
  • Institutions and professionals throughout the hemisphere must participate more actively in the creation of an international system for disaster mitigation. The PAHO/WHO Disaster Mitigation Centre in Colorado can play a leadership role in the creation of such a system.
  • Mitigation projects must be subject to a certification process that validates their effectiveness and generates public trust. Such a process must be part of local or institutional strategies that can be validated nationally and internationally.
  • Efforts must continue in the development of technical criteria for functional protection. Projects must incorporate the necessary human and technical capacity and expertise in structural, non-structural and organizational mitigation. Every stage in a project, from its conception to its execution, must incorporate a strict and verifiable process of quality control.
  • Countries must continue to strengthen the implementation of the recommendations made at the International Conference on Disaster Mitigation in Health Facilities, held in Mexico in 1996.


Conclusions about Advances in Disaster Mitigation in Water Supply and Sanitation Systems (PAHO/WHO, AIDIS)

  • Recent disasters, particularly Hurricane Mitch, reveal one thing. Progress has been made in developing vulnerability assessment methodologies. But these have yet to be fully integrated into service planning, operations, maintenance, retrofitting and rehabilitation.
  • Risk conditions continue to be replicated, even when it comes to the reconstruction of damaged or destroyed services. In general, water mains continue to be repaired using the same materials, the same installation methods and the same locations. With rare exceptions, vulnerability reduction has not materialized in the form of appropriate building techniques, choice of materials or the selection of alternative sources.
  • System vulnerability assessments have advanced a fair amount, particularly after PAHO-generated methodologies were disseminated. However, mitigation measures have yet to be implemented as an everyday part of operations, preventive maintenance, and renovation.
  • Institutional vulnerability remains a key challenge. In general, service providers have yet to implement adequate information systems. They are still using CAD systems that, while powerful, don’t assist in information management, and are thus not appropriate for system risk management. It is essential to improve training in system vulnerability reduction.
  • The walls between the sanitary sector and land-use management specialists have yet to be torn down.


Conclusions about Effective Early-Warning Systems (CEPREDENAC, IDNDR, CDERA, Quebec)

There are three important aspects to bear in mind in relation to Early Warning: first, the technical and scientific component that enables us to detect a hazard in time and predict its future behavior; second, appropriate and timely broadcast of the warning; and third, the understanding of that warning by its recipients.
Conclusions and Challenges

  • We conclude that early warning is a process, not an isolated activity, which includes organized communities and very diverse specialists working in coordination.
  • For early-warning systems to be effective and timely, communities must participate extensively at every stage. It is particularly important to strengthen local and regional institutions involved in disaster management and response.
  • Scientific and technological advances have produced more knowledge of the hazards, vulnerabilities, and risk scenarios in the region. In the meteorological field, the improved synchronization in forecasting is notable, thanks to the use of numeric models, the Internet, and more developed remote sensors.
  • The timely identification of potentially aggressive phenomena, and research on their behaviour, have enabled the creation of better risk maps and the consolidation of emergency plans and communication systems.
  • Presupposing that knowledge and means are still not sufficiently shared or unavailable for all communities, this must be assumed as a worldwide responsibility.
  • Renewed efforts and initiatives are required to overcome existing educational and financial limitations to the development of early warning systems.
  • It is necessary to strengthen scientific research in this area. We must keep moving forward in the building of an interdisciplinary focus that incorporates the social sciences.
  • It is necessary to make progress in the dissemination of early warning information that is timely and appropriate for the user. In this sense, the use of daily bulletins and web pages, the daily feeding of information to the press, the production of information material and training activities can all play a role.


Proposal for Organization and Action in the Field of Risk Management in Primary, Secondary and Higher Education (IDNDR, UCR, OAS)

The elementary and secondary education sector experienced significant changes in the problems surrounding prevention and mitigation during the 1990s. Advances include the great number of courses regarding disaster and risk reduction that were incorporated into the curricula in several countries of the region. Some initiatives were launched to reduce the vulnerability of education facilities, not only due to the characteristics and size of the population that gathers daily in such facilities, but also because schools and other such facilities are often the only available shelters for victims of a disaster.

The discussions, as recommended by the Hemispheric Plan for Disaster Reduction in the Education Sector, dealt with three main issues: the training of teachers, citizen participation, and educational infrastructure.


  • Develop teacher training and school curricula (at the primary, secondary and higher level) in accordance with the vulnerabilities of each country, and encourage research in this field as well as the systematization and dissemination of available findings.
  • Promote a culture of prevention and risk and disaster reduction by developing a cross-cutting approach to disaster mitigation in the curriculum, thereby improving the quality of life of citizens.
  • Promote the development and implementation of emergency response plans in school facilities throughout the region by involving architects and engineers in assessing the vulnerability of existing structures and setting criteria for the construction of new structures, and by training educators to monitor the conditions of existing facilities and the terrain on which they are built, with the assistance of specialized government departments and NGOs.


Information and Disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean – Trends and Relevant Aspects (CRID, IDNDR, PAHO/WHO)

In the past decade, wide coverage has been achieved by electronic information networks, which has increased communication among the scientific/technical community, and with political decision-makers and NGOs involved in natural disaster prevention.

To a great extent, the gap between knowledge generation and political and technical decision-making has been reduced. Nevertheless, the great challenge is to close the gap between dissemination of disaster-related knowledge and a sense of appropriation by society.

The conventional models of information-sharing, which start with an institutional source, have shown themselves to be efficient, but experience demonstrates that these cannot and must not be the only ones applied when our objective is to make substantial changes in the public’s attitude toward disasters.


  • Put into practice participatory models of social communication in local risk management, considering the experiences that have been developed in this field.
  • Establish systematic and permanent mechanisms for risk management training aimed at the staff of community radio stations. This training should be linked to the participatory design of local risk-management plans.
  • Increase efforts to train journalists from the media establishment so that they have an adequate understanding of natural phenomena and of information management in emergency situations.
  • Strengthen the public information programmes of disaster prevention organizations, with direct links to formal and informal educational activities.
  • Integrate new technologies in a humane and rational manner, without going to extremes but taking the fullest possible advantage of them.
  • Helping more people to have access to knowledge through the Internet and electronic media at the service of greater communication for disaster reduction.
  • Make disaster reduction safer and more efficient through the use of these information and communication tools.

Policies, Mechanisms and Instruments for Prevention: Economic Aspects

Participants analyzed the Natural Disaster Fund (FONDEN), a Mexican initiative, and discussed the issue of how to keep track of the use given to international donations. They then probed the socioeconomic impact of disasters, presented during an earlier plenary session, and disaggregated it into direct, indirect and secondary costs. Participants also discussed the use of cost/benefit analysis in programming disaster reduction activities.

Delegates considered the Inter-American Development Bank’s approach to disasters, based not only on disaster response but also prevention and long-term sustainable reconstruction, and on encouraging countries to assess their own vulnerability and integrate this knowledge into their policies and actions. There was consensus on the key role that banking institutions can play in disaster reduction, and some discussion of the problems involving loans for risk reduction.
Disasters, participants argued, often derail sustainable development policies, when in fact they should strengthen them. Project fail to incorporate methodologies for assessing the socioeconomic costs of future rehabilitation and reconstruction and incorporating them into impact studies. This makes it hard to factor in the savings involved in not having to rebuild after an earthquake or other natural event.


  • Carry out comprehensive vulnerability assessments, with the participation of the various stakeholders, in order to show that prevention is highly cost-effective. Find ways to reward projects that take prevention into consideration.
  • Improve cost-benefit analysis methodologies to evaluate prevention measures, not just the socioeconomic impact of disasters, by means of new research initiatives.
  • Prove that prevention reduces the costs of post-disaster investments in rehabilitation and reconstruction.
  • Create an insurance fund for disaster prevention, initially as a pilot project in Central America, to mitigate the economic consequences of natural disasters in the region and provide economic incentives for risk reduction and prevention activities, particularly at the local community level, allowing Central American municipal governments to insure their assets and infrastructure against loss, damage or destruction as a result of natural disasters. Begin by carrying out research to determine the degree of contingent risks in actuarial terms and therefore the necessary level of capitalization of such a scheme