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
Global ISDR


Guidelines for National Platforms for Disaster Reduction


Throughout the IDNDR, and particularly in recent years, IDNDR National Committees and Focal Points proved to be key organizational mechanisms in many countries to expand the understanding and perceptions of disaster reduction and to increase the opportunities for association of diverse professional interests committed to the subject. In more than 130 countries a combination of representatives drawn from positions in government, professional disciplines, and local leadership were encouraged to address collectively such matters as public information and education, the conduct of hazard and risk assessments, national planning initiatives, or community forms of mobilization for disaster reduction. This momentum should be maintained, and even increased in response to the needs of hazards and risks in the 21st century.

Proceeding from a greater awareness of the risks that natural, technological and environmental risks pose to modern societies, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction provides an important opportunity to review, consider and re-commit appropriate forms of national and local platforms for disaster reduction. IDNDR has demonstrated that while there is no exact standard that is suitable for the needs and relative interests, or cultural values, of all countries, there has been a clear recognition of value in the official commitment and encouragement of some form of guiding or coordinating body to link the many interests vital for successful accomplishments in disaster reduction. The ISDR framework should strive to develop even further the basic principles of multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral involvement, engaging both officials responsible for policy as well as public representatives essential for widespread participation. Equally important, is the engagement of an increasingly wide range of professional involvement, skills, and abilities, that are essential for a comprehensive and sustained approach to a truly national commitment to disaster reduction.

Suggested Guidelines for National Platforms for Disaster Reduction

The following guidelines are presented for consideration, and encouraged use through the actions of ISDR Inter-Agency Task Force member organizations, and within individual countries. To the extent that they may prove feasible, they may also usefully inform similar collective platforms within local communities, or in a regional or sub-regional context. Their overall intention is to encourage an expanded awareness, understanding and commitment for all members of a society or a community exposed to the risks of hazards where they live and work – and their respective roles and responsibilities of working together to build disaster-resilient communities.

  • Official governmental support and evident encouragement at all appropriate levels of authority is essential for successful National Platforms.
  • National Platforms should be comprised in a bi-partisan, non-political basis – with the expectation that their value serves the community at large, and increases in value over time.
  • An informed and involved public, motivated to participate in all aspects of hazard and risk management for disaster reduction, provides a necessary basis for effective platforms.
  • National platforms should be conceived and maintained with a broad and transparent purpose in addressing the needs, and preserving the social and economic assets, of the community.
  • National platforms may strive to represent a broad community of interests, that encompasses public policy issues; governmental authority; technical and professional abilities; financial and commercial interests; media access and involvement; educational processes; civic, non-governmental and local leadership; and specialized, skilled, or social abilities and within a community associated with the well-being and sustained livelihoods of its members.
  • While distinctive in their technical abilities, specialized services associated with emergency assistance requirements, need to be fully included in the broad community of interests associated with National Platforms.
  • National Platforms should be encouraged to develop and maintain public information and/or professional exchange networks both for its immediate national and local constituencies, as well as with the larger external, international, and regional/sub-regional collaborators in disaster reduction issues.
  • National Platforms need to be sensitive to dynamic changes in demographics, land use, community growth and environmental conditions or resource utilization.
  • Shared resource allocations and commitments, or a broadly-based means for ensuring sustainability, viability, and productivity are essential.
  • National Platforms should strive to possess the professional legitimacy and authority to represent the interests, or speak on behalf of the country – as well as to extend, share, and communicate the efforts, interests and concerns of the communities concerned in matters of hazards and risk reduction activities.
  • National Platforms may seek to become active within international and regional/sub-regional contexts, both to provide as well as receive the benefits of shared information and experience related to disaster reduction.

Overall, with recognized authority and professional integrity, National Platforms should strive to be inclusive, and seek to motivate, all political, social, and economic interests within a community - for the commonly agreed purpose of protecting the social resources, economic assets, basis of livelihoods, and environmental conditions of all inhabitants from avoidable loss or damage associated with hazards. Synergy is a hallmark of effective platforms – and widespread participation is a measure both of understanding, and essential support.

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