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



The new International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

Risk assessment maps developed immediately following the impact caused by El Niño in Curitiba, and some of the prevention efforts carried out as a consequence of the evaluation. Paraná, Brazil

Just over ten years ago, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared the 1990´s as the International decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR). The mandate of IDNDR was to initiate and marshal wide-ranging international cooperation to raise public awareness for programs and policies, aimed at reducing the loss of life, property damage and social and economic disruption, caused by disasters triggered by natural hazards. A wide range partnership was built with local, national and international organizations.

The need to take action was clear. Climate changes and environmental degradation, demographic shifts, insufficient land use planning and practices, lack of education and increasing poverty are some of the reasons for an ever rising trend of increased economic losses caused by natural disasters. These trends continue….

The IDNDR decade came to an end in December 1999, after a thorough regional and world wide review of what had been done. The global community considered it important not to lose the experience gained during the Decade, especially in terms of forging vital links among the political, scientific and technological communities. As a result, the United Nations created a successor body to carry out the work initiated during IDNDR. This new institutional arrangement is the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).

Further in this Magazine, you may read about the outcome of the first meeting of the Inter Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction, where functions and priorities are outlined for ISDR. A guideline for national platforms for disaster reduction is the result of the experience during the Decade.

ISDR is based on building broad-based cooperation and partner ship, as the only way forward to reduce the impact of disasters. Like sustainable development, disaster reduction is a long-term activity, where benefits lie in a distant future and are not immediately. Forging a disaster prevention culture therefore depends on being able to take a long-term view, and persuading decision –makers from both public and private sectors, to do the same.

Despite all the efforts in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean during the last decade, including the establishment of political mandates, organisations and programs, there is a great need for continued coordination and networking to enhance sustained disaster reduction policies, practices and programs. ISDR is focusing on regional perspectives and continues with a Unit for Latin America and the Caribbean, based in Costa Rica.

As part of the general mandate given to the inter-agency ISDR secretariat, the main objectives of this regional unit are to:

  • Increase public awareness and information on disaster risk and coping mechanisms through public awareness strategies and campaigns with partner organizations to enhance a stronger culture towards disaster reduction;
  • Increase the level of disaster information access, exchange and networking among countries and organizations in the region, reinforcing the Regional Disaster Information System initiated during IDNDR and coordinated from the multi-organizational Regional Disaster Information Center (CRID) in Costa Rica;
  • Increase the capacity at national and local level in the field of disaster reduction, through accessing relevant knowledge and information sources at the international and regional levels and encouraging/supporting formal and informal education initiatives and community networking;
  • Increase political awareness on the need for sustained disaster reduction and risk management policies

The implementation of ISDR in the region will make full use of the opportunities for cooperation and networking initiated during the Decade, particularly with the national disaster management commissions and similar, and organisations as PAHO (with whom office space and resources are shared), UNDP, WMO, UNESCO and other UN Organizations, OAS and the Inter American System, CEPREDENAC, CDERA, existing networks, social society organizations and others.

The topic of the global campaign this year is EDUCATION, YOUTH AND DISASTER REDUCTION, with a focus on forest and wildfires. Read more about this campaign and concrete examples of educational initiatives in the region.

We invite you to stay tuned with ISDR, to share experience with others and to continue the mission for a safer world together.

This new Magazine, replaces the Newsletter “IDNDR Informs- Latin America and the Caribbean”.

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