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


ECLAC and World Bank organize workshops on socioeconimic assessments of disasters, as tool for damage reduction and to improve both develoment processes and risk management.

In the framework of cooperation between ECLAC and the World Bank to carry out disaster assessments –formalized through a Memorandum of Agreement signed in 2003 and renewed for one more year through 2005-, a number of training activities have been conducted, including the development of teaching and training materials. These events have involved the participation of the Disaster Management Facility (DMF) and the World Bank Institute (WBI), as well as the Focal Point for Disaster Assessment, located at ECLAC’s Subregional Headquarters in Mexico. Source materials used for these activities include the revised version of the Manual for Estimating the Socioeconomic Effects of Natural Disasters, prepared by ECLAC with financial assistance from the governments of the Netherlands and Italy, as well as the technical contribution from various institutions such as the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Bank, which has provided valuable support for its publication and dissemination. Training courses have been offered since the May 2003 publication of this revised manual, most recently in the Philippines and Belize (the latter, with the financial support of the Belizean government). Courses were also conducted at the regional level in Mexico, with the participation of representatives from most Mexican states, Central American countries and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. The materials used for these activities are available on the websites of ECLAC’s Subregional Headquarters in Mexico, the World Bank, under the DMF, and national and regional counterparts. These materials may also be requested directly from these institutions (contact information is included at the end of this article).

A module on the socioeconomic impact of disasters was offered on May 18, during a course of the WBI on urban Management (held in Antigua, Guatemala on May 1-19, 2004) and exercises were conducted with all participants.

Similarly, on May 24-25 a workshop was carried out in the Philippines, sponsored at the national level by the institution responsible for civil defense. The activity was held at the National Defense College, Emergency Management Institute of the Philippines. The content, scope and purposes of ECLAC’s methodology concerning the socioeconomic and environmental impact of disasters was introduced to national and provincial authorities, as well as to representatives of government bodies and civil society organizations at large, as a tool linked to poverty reduction in this country.

On June 1-3, a course intended for national authorities and experts was taught in Belize with the support of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and with resources authorized by the Belizean Ministry of Treasury. The event was held at NEMO headquarters. On this occasion, participants reviewed this methodology (which had been introduced previously during a course given after Hurricane Keith) and conducted exercises on its implementation. Finally, the way in which this national institution has applied the methodology in other disasters, such as Hurricane Iris, was examined.

On June 21-23, a distance learning Natural Disaster Risk Management Program was launched (currently available only in English at the World Bank Institute). This program will soon be available in both Spanish and French and interested parties may contact ECLAC or the WBI directly at: or

On June 28-30 an activity was organized with the support of the Mexican National Coordination Office for Civil Protection. This event, held at the Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED), brought together public safety officials and personnel from most Mexican states, as well as representatives of the Departments of Agriculture, Social Development, Communications and Transport, Finance and Public Credit, among others. In this context, two courses were offered. The first one focused on the methodology for disaster assessment and its specific applications based upon a version of ECLAC’s Manual adapted to CENAPRED in Mexico. The second course referred to the development of a risk atlas in Mexico. This course was also attended by the Coordination Center for Natural Disaster Prevention in Central America (CEPREDENAC), as well as Mesoamerican countries and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. In the context of this activity, a parallel meeting was held with the Board of Directors of CEPREDENENAC, as well as working meetings with this center and CENAPRED. These meetings addressed a number of important issues of mutual interest to both Central America and Mexico, in the context of the Panama Puebla Plan.

A new workshop will be held in the Caribbean on July 6-9 on adapting this methodology to their specific needs, and the use of training materials developed by the Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean. This meeting, which will include Caribbean and regional experts, is aimed at improving existing training tools and materials, with an emphasis on practical exercises and methods to evaluate the knowledge acquired by participants during these training activities. This meeting, organized jointly by the subregional headquarters in Mexico and the Caribbean, will be carried out in Port-of-Spain, in the context of the existing working program between the World Bank and ECLAC.

For further information please contact the abovementioned institutions or the ECLAC Focal Point for Disaster Assessment at or