The Regional Platform

The Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas celebrated its first-ever session in Panama City, Panama in March, 2009. This meeting served to bring together representatives from throughout the region of the Americas in this landmark event surrounding disaster risk reduction in the hemisphere of the Americas as well as to consolidate a message brought forward to the second session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction held in Geneva in June of that same year.

In keeping with the objectives of the Platform structure as defined prior to the first session in 2009, the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas had the following general objectives:

  1. Assess progress made in implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action.
  2. Enhance awareness of disaster risk reduction.
  3. Share experiences among countries and learn from good practice.
  4. Identify remaining gaps and actions needed to accelerate national and local implementation of the Hyogo Framework.

Specifically, the Regional Platform is intended to:

  • Increase the profile of disaster risk reduction as an integral aspect of sustainable development and adaptation to climate change, recognizing that it is “everybody's business” and must be a multi-stakeholder undertaking with governments playing a central role;
  • Reiterate the commitment of policy and decision-makers to implement the Hyogo Framework for Action;
  • Strengthen the cross-fertilization between the national platforms and the global platform, supporting greater coordination at the various levels.
  • Learn from good practice;
  • Provide practical suggestions for regional and sub-regional initiatives in support of national and community efforts to reduce disaster risk; and
  • Assess progress made in implementing the HFA, and identify obstacles, critical problems and emerging issues that must be addressed to speed up national and local implementation of disaster risk reduction including the priorities of the ISDR system for 2008-2009.

First Session of the Regional Platform for DRR in the Americas held in 2009

The first session of the Regional Platform for DRR in the Americas was held just months before the second session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, looking to bridge the gap between the Global Platform and the National Platforms in the region of the Americas, with the purpose of establishing a formal multi-stakeholder mechanism at the hemispheric level.

Over 300 individuals participated in this first biennial session of the Regional Platform in 2009 including representatives of Government, UN agencies, IGOs, NGOs and financial and developmental organizations who were present throughout the event.

The objectives of this session in 2009 were as follows:

  1. Promote the consolidation and institutionalization of the Regional Platform of the Americas, including the necessary political agreements, resolutions and plans of action;
  2. Promote coordination of efforts and creation of new partnerships and/or strengthen existing ones for HFA and IASP implementation of HFA and IASP;
  3. Foster understanding of the HFA reporting mechanism to enhance feedback, to validate and appropriate the mechanism to facilitate improved and more systematized reporting throughout the region, and to support the strengthening of National Platforms;
  4. Identify specific opportunities for cross-fertilization between countries and subregions for exchanging information, as well as inter-government and inter-sector cooperation; and
  5. Disseminate the main outcomes of the meeting with respect to their risk trends and progress through the Internet by the UNISDR secretariat, the INDM Web Portal, and the ISDR and INDM partners and supporters.

This three-day meeting involved plenary sessions, thematic working groups and side events as well as a series of interviews with key actors, selected in advance for their noted involvement or representation in the region, a photo gallery, information stands and cultural events such as artisan market and social activities.

Plenary sessions centered upon aspects of general interest to the region as a whole surrounding the creation of the regional platform itself, tendencies and progress in the region, gaps, challenges and opportunities surrounding DRR in the Americas as well as responsibilities and priorities for moving forward with a hemispheric DRR agenda in coming years, as well as a regional approach to the II Session of the Global Platform for DRR subsequently held in Geneva, Switzerland from June 16-18, 2009. Thematic sessions involved multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral working groups focusing on priority thematic areas of action.

Second session of the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction - 2011

Two years after this first session, the UNISDR and the Organization of American States as co-conveners, along with the Government of Mexico as host to this second biannual session, are pleased to announce the convening of the II Session of the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas to be held in 2011 in Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico.

An Advisory Board has been conformed to provide overall guidance for the organization of the Regional Platform’s second session. This Board is composed by UNISDR, OAS, the Government of Mexico, CEPREDENAC, CDEMA, CAPRADE, REHU, the World Bank, PAHO, IDB, UNDP, OCHA and the IFRC.

Based on the findings of the 2009 sessions of the Regional Platform and subsequent Global Platform, the strategic objectives of the 2011 second session of the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas are as follows:

  • Disaster Risk Reduction accepted and applied for Climate Change Adaptation.
  • Measurable increases in investments in disaster risk reduction
  • Disaster-resilient cities, schools and hospitals
  • Institutional strengthening of DRR
  • HFA Mid-Term Review
  • Message to the Global Platform 2011

The proposed structure for this second session is comprised of plenary sessions and working groups. Plenary sessions will focus on the role of ISDR for advancing the disaster risk reduction agenda at the global level, the role of the OAS at the hemispheric level and the role of inter-governmental organizations at the subregional level. In keeping with this are the national governments and National Platforms that will present advances and tendencies at the country level, as well as specific contributions based on best practices and initiatives undertaken since the 2009 session of the regional platform.

Participants in this second session will include national HFA / ISDR focal points, representatives from ministries of planning, environment, education, health, economy and finance; representatives from regional and national associations of municipalities as well as from local governments; the academic sector, non-government organizations, community organizations, financial institutions and cooperation agencies as well as other United Nations system agencies.

Co-convening partners

Government of Mexico

During the 2009 session of the Regional Platform for DRR in the Americas, the Government of Mexico generously offered to host the second session of the Regional Platform. The Government of Mexico has demonstrated continuous commitment to disaster risk reduction and is indeed very active in regional initiatives.

The Organization of American States (OAS)

The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, through its Executive Secretariat for Integral Development and its Department of Sustainable Development (OAS/DSD), was identified as the main strategic political partner / regional institution to coordinate HFA implementation. As such, OAS/DSD has taken a lead role with UNISDR Americas in establishing the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, co-convening related events such as the Regional Platform’s 1st Session held in Panama City, Panama in 2009, the Second Hemispheric Encounter on National Mechanisms and Networks for Disaster Risk Reduction: “Encounter of Santa Marta: From Theory to Practice” held in Santa Marta, Colombia in April, 2010, and is currently co-convening the Regional Platform’s second biennial session to be held in Mexico in 2011.

UNISDR/The Americas

In keeping with its mandate, the United Nations, secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) is the focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of disaster reduction initiatives and with the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) as the main orienting tool. The UNISDR, through its Regional Unit for the Americas (UNISDR Americas), was identified as the main driving force to catalyze the process with the key function of coordinating and ensuring active participation and convening of key players from throughout the region.