Partners from 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean highlight how to make a difference in disaster preparedness



By: Guadalupe Natareno
UNISDR  - The Americas and the Caribbean

PANAMA, Panama, 14 November 2018 – Humanitarian organizations from 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean working on disaster preparedness produced the document "Systematization of evidence: disaster preparedness makes a difference", which compiles 60 cases with 70 individual topics to demonstrate the positive impact of disaster preparedness in the region.

Evidence focuses on early warning systems, alliances between community organizations and disaster reduction management systems with other government structures, alliances between multiple key actors and sectors, the updating and development of preparation tools, technical training in issues of disaster reduction and the inclusion of gender, age and people with disabilities. These issues, in addition to being priority axes of the organizations that presented them, constitute good practices and make a difference in disaster preparedness issues, but, above all, they help save lives.

"For humanitarian workers in general and for risk management professionals in particular, there is no doubt that disaster preparedness makes a difference," said Jocelyn Lance, Head of the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). "What is urgent now is to capture these evidences, these testimonies of how the first responders, how local authorities, adapt or change their practices to face or better manage potential emergencies," he added.

The experiences gathered are aligned with Priority 4 of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 - 2030 which seeks to increase disaster preparedness in order to provide an effective response and to "Build Back Better" in the areas of recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. The countries participating in this initiative are Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela.

The systematization of evidence was possible thanks to the regional workshop "Disaster preparedness makes a difference: contributions of ECHO and its partners to the strategies of the Latin America and the Caribbean region," which took place in June 2018 in Cartagena, Colombia.

This systematization is part of the disaster preparedness projects that the European Commission, through ECHO, has supported in the region since 1994. Since then, the Commission has invested a total of 238 million euros in 36 countries through more than 550 projects, reaching approximately 13 million people in Latin American and the Caribbean with the participation and involvement of a wide diversity of organizations and humanitarian partners. 

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