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


Ibero-American Association for Civil Defense and Protection:
A Balance of the First Four Years

The Ibero-American Association for Civil Defense and Protection emerged from a 1-5 July 1996 meeting organized in Santiago, Chile, by the Pro Tempore Secretariat of the Space Conference of the Americas and Chile’s ONEMI. The subject of the meeting was the use of aerospace technology in disaster prevention and mitigation.

Seismic Hazard Map for Spain

Participants at the Santiago meeting agreed on an Ibero-American Declaration for the Integrated Development of Civil Protection and Defense. The Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Viña del mar, Chile, 7-11 November 1996, later supported the Declaration. Said the state leaders:

“We congratulate ourselves on the creation, on 7 July 1996, of the Ibero-American Association for Civil Defense and Protection, and as we highlight the exemplary work carried out by those entities dedicated to the security of people, their goods, and the environment, we call on them to persevere in promoting Ibero-American cooperation through our Conference’s mechanisms”.
With the endorsement of the Summit, the Association held in Madrid its first conference in September 1997, approving its statutes and designating Working Groups to handle the various aspects of civil defense in a multilateral context.

According to the statutes, the Association’s objectives are these: “Promoting scientific and technical cooperation in disaster management and the increase and improvement of information and experiences of mutual interest to the associates, as well as promoting training and the development of human resources in the field of civil protection and defense.”

During the second conference of the Association, held in December 1998 in Cartagena, Colombia, and the third, held in Buenos Aires in July 1999, participants were still shocked by the severity of the natural disasters that had struck member states, such as hurricanes Georges and Mitch, the Colombia earthquake, and the El Niño phenomenon.

Accordingly, participants at the second conference called on organizations involved in emergency humanitarian assistance to reinforce their cooperation with the authorities of the countries adversely affected by natural events. They also created a Working Group to study and propose strategies aimed at consolidating Ibero-American cooperation systems for civil protection; the National Directorate of Civil Protection and Planning of Argentina agreed to coordinate the Group. Similarly, during the third conference, participants agreed on a draft Multilateral Pact of Technical Collaboration and Mutual Assistance in Civil Protection. They approved the establishment of a Network of Civil Defense Information and Documentation Centers.

As a result of these agreements, the Association, which currently brings together all Iberian and Ibero-American countries, has already launched several projects, such as the following:

  • Providing all affiliate organizations with homogeneous computer software that allows them to participate in joint programs and facilitates communication in the event of an emergency.
  • Defining systems and procedures to unify the bibliographic and documentary data of the affiliate organizations, through the creation of the above-mentioned Network of Information and Documentation Centers. It would be compatible with, and if necessary linked with, other networks of a similar character.
  • Organizing and developing distance-learning activities through the use of virtual classes, preferably taught by representatives of the affiliated institutions, and aimed at their staffs.
  • Designing and implementing a pilot project for a primary school program on natural hazards education, beginning with seismic hazards, to be tested in several Ibero-American countries. It will include the option of exchanging information that contributes to a better mutual understanding of the various countries’ history, culture, and environment.

For more information, please contact:
Juan San Nicolás Santamaría
Presidente de la Asociación Iberoamericana de Defensa y Protección Civil
Tel. (3491) 562-8924