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



Training for Disaster Reduction

Natural disasters frequently occur in Latin America and the Caribbean. The result of the hurricane Mitch triggered the ideas of a regional training programme in the topic of disaster reduction and preparedness for professionals in this field. The advanced regional training programme Disaster Preparedness Management 2001 was formed. The Swedish consultant company SSPA Sweden AB was committed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Asdi/Sida to conduct the programme. The programme was developed and performed in close cooperation with the School of Geology at the University of Costa Rica and was held in San José, Costa Rica, during the periods Part I: February 19 – March 9, Part II: April 23 – May 4.

The programme covered the broad field of disaster reduction, with a focus on prevention and mitigation, but also topics more close to the disaster such as preparedness and relief systems. Physical and strategic planning was introduced as the platform for preventive and mitigating work. Risk assessment was used as a tool within the planning process. The disaster cycle was used as a way of structuring the work and the events.

A good prevention plan also needs aware people in the communities to be useful and effective. The importance of local participation and awareness has been stressed upon throughout the programme. Another important issue to make disaster reduction work successful is the increasing knowledge of risk consciousness among the people.

During the 5 weeks of the programme different methods of education were used to get as good results as possible. Each participant was committed to prepare and present a case report, a project or a problem from his own country. Each case was presented and a workshop was conducted in connection with each case to analyse the problem and give feedback to the author. All this work was combined with interesting fieldtrips and study visits.

Swedish lecturers were mixed with local lecturers from Costa Rica as well as from Latin American and the Caribbean region. UN organisations represented were ISDR, UNEP, PAHO, and OCHA. Other organisations represented were University of Costa Rica, FLACSO, CRID, FUNDESUMA, IDB, etc. The Swedish Rescue Services Board (SRSB), SSPA Sweden AB, and Chalmers University of Technology covered the Swedish contribution to the programme.

The participants came from the whole Latin American and the Caribbean region and represented a broad variety of backgrounds, fig 3. The expert field ranged all the way from the social field to the actual disaster managers.

This type of multidisciplinary training programme will hopefully highlight the importance of prevention and mitigation work. It is better to be proactive than reactive.

For more information contact:
Per Danielsson, SSPA

Asdi/Sida is the Swedish government agency dealing with bilateral international development cooperation and the major part of cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe. Asdi is financing international training programmes in Sweden as well as abroad in other countries.
SSPA Sweden AB is an independent limited research and consultant company fully owned by the foundation of Chalmers Technical University. SSPA is working in the field of physical planning, risk and environmental management, as well as within the maritime field. SSPA is conducting training and education in various fields both in Sweden and abroad.
The University of Costa Rica is a major regional focal point for research in Central America. The School of Geology has several master programmes related to disaster reduction. The local contact person at UCR is Mr. Rolando Mora,, at the School of Geology.