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

EIRD Global


Strengthening Regional and National Capacities for Natural Disaster Reduction, 24 September

Disaster loss has increased rapidly over recent years throughout the world. Disaster risk is being configured through increasing hazard levels (associated with earthquakes, climate variability, volcanoes etc) and the increasing vulnerability of communities and societies (such as fragile living conditions, weak local economies and institutions, environmental degradation). Recently in Central America, disasters impact has been very high, both in human and economic terms (see table I).

Table I: Recent disasters impact in Central America (1996-2001)

In spite of progress that has been made in Central America at the regional, national and local level, sustainable human development gains become eroded by large, medium and small scale disaster loss. The Regional Plan for Natural Disaster Reduction (revised during the XXth Summit of Central American Presidents and Belize in October 1999) needs more political and financial support, both national and international, in order to factor risk reduction into the development process, and reduce the vulnerability of the population (particularly the poor).

On Tuesday, 24 September, a donor meeting entitled Strengthening Regional and National Capacities for Natural Disaster Reduction was held in the Palais des Nations in Geneva. This roundtable discussion, was headed jointly by the Coordination Centre for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America (CEPREDENAC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and covered the period of 2003-2005. The presentation profiled a portfolio of 81 projects, identified trough a participatory needs assessment involving more than 150 national institutions. There was strong political support from Central American countries (with their Missions to the United Nations in Geneva), and the United Nations trough the participation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UN-Habitat, Food and Agricultural Oranization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the High Commissioner for Refugees (HCR). This round table was a first step in resource mobilization on disaster reduction efforts in the region for 2003-2005.

Presentations made by Mr. Georg Charpentier (Deputy Director, Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) of UNDP, Andrew Maskrey (Head of Disaster Reduction and Recovery Unit, BCPR/UNDP), Ana Cubias and Pablo Torrealba (President and Program Director of CEPREDENAC) exposed challenges and needs faced when aiming to implement the Regional Plan, and to reduce the risk of disaster in Central American countries. UNDP representatives also discussed past and present support in risk reduction to Central American countries at the regional, national and local level.

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