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

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News from ISDR Secretariat

Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction 7th meeting

As one of the two principal mechanisms of the ISDR, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction (IATF/DR) is increasingly recognized as providing much added-value and increasingly tangible results, in particular as a productive platform for coordination and policy advice and synergies. On 10-11 April IATF/DR met for the seventh time to review and discuss the progress of its four working groups (on climate and disasters, early warning, risk, vulnerability and impact assessment and wildland fires) and ad-hoc discussion group on drought. The meeting proved most fruitful, with significant outputs of the groups being presented. Among these were the continuing support to the International Centre on the El Niño Phenomenon (CIIFEN) and the provision of regular El Niño Outlooks; the further advancement of a global inventory of early warning systems as well as active preparations for the 2nd International Conference on Early Warning (EWCII); the ongoing review of existing disaster databases and efforts to consolidate and standardise disaster data and information, including vulnerability indexing; the formulation of a global fire network built on regional and sub-regional contacts in addition to the preparations for the International Wildland Fire Summit to be held in September in Sydney, Australia; and the production of a comprehensive report on drought, including recommendations and steps to take towards the development of a global drought risk reduction network.

ATF/DR members affirmed their commitment to the development of a programme of work for the biennium 2004-2005 based on a review of achievements to date and reassessment of its goals, including urban risk issues. IATF/DR members also recognised and appreciated the work of the ISDR Secretariat, who is receiving ever-increasing demands and expectations from the international community in addition to requests from the UN General Assembly.

For further information on the results of the IATF/DR meeting, please contact Helena Molin Valdes,


Farewell to our respected colleague Paul Bell

It is with great sorrow that we received the news of the loss of Mr. Paul Bell, OFDA-USAID, one of the most generous and forward-looking experts in the field of disaster management. Mr. Bell's dedication to assist developing countries (mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean) to enhance their disaster management capacities has been one of the main features in the advancement of disaster management in the region. His visionary approach contributed greatly to move disaster risk reduction forward within the disaster management community and to identify the need to build bridges with other relevant sectors such as health, environment, development, among others. We had the privilege of working with him on several occasions and benefited greatly from his wise and timely advice. He was indeed a supporter of the ISDR, and we hope that his example, values and attitudes will be continued by his colleagues in San Josť and Washington..