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

Partners in Action


Facing the Challenge of Natural Disasters: An IDB Action Plan

The Inter-American Development Bank is calling for concerted actions to address the root causes of the region’s vulnerability. Its new focus would place disaster prevention and mitigation at the forefront of the region’s development agenda. Building on its mandate to promote sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Bank will help countries integrate risk reduction in development planning and investments, as well as build a permanent technical and operational capacity to manage risk reduction more effectively in the future.

To meet the challenge of increased risk and losses from natural disasters, the Bank will establish a priority ranking of actions designed to reduce vulnerability. Financing will be directed toward prevention and mitigation of disasters, as well as building risk management capacity. Studies and regional dialogue to identify and increase the understanding of good practices will complement national efforts. Specifically, the Bank will assist countries in adopting comprehensive risk management schemes by focusing on the following strategic areas:

  • National Systems for Disaster Prevention and Response: Building national legal and regulatory frameworks and programs that bring together the planning agencies, local governments and civil society organizations; developing national strategies for risk reduction, and assessing inter-sectoral priorities, backed by separate budgets.
  • A Culture of Prevention: Developing and disseminating risk information and empowering citizens and other stakeholders to take risk reduction measures.
  • Reducing the Vulnerability of the Poor: Supporting poor households and communities in reducing their vulnerability to natural hazards and recovering from disasters through reconstruction assistance.
  • Involving the Private Sector: Creating conditions for the development of insurance markets; encouraging the use of other risk-spreading financial instruments where appropriate, and designing economic and regulatory incentives for risk reduction behavior.
  • Risk Information for Decision-Making: Evaluating existing risk assessment methodologies; developing indicators of vulnerability, and stimulating the production and wide dissemination of risk information.
  • Fostering Leadership and Cooperation in the Region: Stimulate coordinated actions and to mobilize regional resources for investments in risk mitigation.

To effectively promote these strategic areas in the region, the Bank faces the challenge of putting risk management at the forefront of its agenda. A recent change in its Policy on Natural Disasters, which now places greater emphasis on risk reduction, lays the foundation to meet this challenge. The following Plan of Action provides the elements for mainstreaming risk management in the Bank’s operations and actions:

  • A Facility for Innovation in Disaster Prevention: Establishing new financial mechanisms to help countries undertake and strengthen disaster prevention and risk management actions.
  • Risk Reduction as a Component of the Bank’s Dialogue with member countries: Engaging dialogue in areas of risk assessment, risk management strategies, and the use of available IDB instruments for financing investments related to natural disasters.
  • Risk Reduction in the Project Cycle: Including risk analysis and reduction in programming and in project identification, design, implementation and evaluation.
  • Focal Points for Disaster Management: Supporting countries in preparing risk reduction programs and coordinating prevention and response activities among the Bank’s sector divisions and country offices.
  • Partnerships: Building an integrated information and response network that includes coordinating the preparation of pre-investment studies; funding prevention and reconstruction investments, and establishing interagency response protocols.