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


Workshop-Seminar for National Authorities:
Risk Management Policies and Successful Experiences in the Caribbean

Luis Carpio,
TEL. 1-868.622-9575

The Association of Caribbean States (ACS), jointly with the Civil Defense System of Cuba, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affaire (OCHA), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) organized a workshop-seminar for national authorities entitled Risk Management Policies and Successful Experiences in the Caribbean. This event was held in Havana, Cuba, on June 1-3, 2005 and was preceded by a meeting of the AEC Special Committee on Natural Disasters. The mail goals of the workshop were to: a) strengthen the exchange of experiences and increase cooperation between countries and regional institutions, as well as develop new alliances with both the United Nations and other cooperating agencies in order to improve national capacities to reduce the impact of natural hazards; and, b) integrate international disaster response and preparedness efforts into procedures and mechanisms for national and regional mechanisms, in preparation for the 2005 hurricane season in the Caribbean.


Representatives of 13 ACS member States participated in this event, as well as agencies of the United Nations system , the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) and representatives of other cooperation agencies from the region. The agenda of this event included the presentation of country reports, a special session on preparedness and response to the 2005 hurricane season in the Caribbean (led by OCHA), and a session devoted to the follow-up of the Kobe WCDR within the regional context (led by UNDP and the ISDR).   Participants recognized that a large number of countries in the region are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of natural hazards.   A key factor for reducing their vulnerability and improving their disaster preparedness and response capacity is the level of political commitment and specific resource allocation for these activities. Along these lines, participants called for greater support from countries of the region and for the use of bilateral, multilateral and international cooperation mechanisms. In addition, the participants of this event agreed that it is necessary to exchange information on risk reduction, lessons learned and best practices, and for the ACS to provide an appropriate forum for supporting these efforts.

Furthermore, the initiative promoted by both UNDP and the EIRD regarding the creation of a "Trans-cultural Network for Disaster Risk Reduction" based in Cuba was welcomed by the participants of this event. The main goal of this new proposal is to facilitate the exchange of experiences in disaster reduction among English, Spanish, French, and Dutch speaking countries. In this manner, this initiative would represent a platform to gather and disseminate lessons learned and best practices among the ACS member States, and would help them with the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action.

Finally, the participants called upon the international community and the AEC member States to support the development of people-based early warning systems. These would be integrated into various key sectors through a number of measures in line with Hyogo Framework for Action, such as the strengthening of critical facilities. The existing need to make progress in this field was highlighted, especially due to the human and economic losses caused by the previous hurricane season in the region, in particular in Haiti and Grenada.

The following are some of the recommendations made during the three-day workshop, which are reflected on the document entitled "Consensus of La Havana".   As part of the follow-up process to the Hyogo Framework for Action, the "Consensus of La Havana" identified a number of short-term strategic actions in three different areas: the strengthening of prevention and preparedness capacities; the improvement of response capacities; and the expansion of strategic partnerships and associations for disaster reduction. This document is available   in our webside and  

The ACS and the ISDR are planning to hold a meeting in the near future to follow-up on the agreement they signed in 2004.   During this meeting, priority will be given to the regional implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action. The recommendations and priorities identified during the workshop held in La Havana represent a valuable contribution to this process.