Promoting resilience in Central America and the Caribbean

29 May 2014

imageUNDP had its own exhibition booth with the objective of promoting the exchange of knowledge and increasing the agency’s visibility. Guayaquil, Ecuador, 2014.

As part of its mandate to empower lives, improve recovery capacity and strengthen resilience to disasters, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) promotes initiatives to foster cooperation and exchange knowledge and successful experiences between countries. In Latin America and the Caribbean, UNDP supported the IV Session Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Americas, which took place in Guayaquil, Ecuador from27th-29th May, 2014, with the objective of advancing the practice of disaster risk reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean.

One of the results of the Platform was a Declaration of Commitments, aimed at reducing vulnerability in Latin American and Caribbean countries.  Despite the significant progress registered in reducing risk in the region, damage and economic losses continue to increase, particularly those related to intensive risk. The following points deserve to be highlighted from the Declaration:

1.       Promote a shift away from response-oriented approaches towards development-oriented approaches for effective risk reduction

2.       Achieve resilient communities through protecting essential services such as hospitals and schools

3.       Regulate and reiterate the importance of community participation and civic responsibility in disaster risk reduction

4.       Provide input to the review process and refinement of the HFA with special attention on the unique situation of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in terms of exposure and vulnerability

5.       Improve coordination in international disaster response and further strengthen the preparedness, response and recovery  capacity at all community, local, national and regional levels

6.       Value the contributions of the scientific and academic community in generating knowledge and technological development for risk management decision-making

7.       Achieve coherence among the new Agendas surrounding Development, Risk Management, Climate Change, Humanitarian Action and the Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development

8.         Review the progress towards comprehensive development, including indicators of resilience and new agreed upon methodologies for monitoring and follow-up

9.         Improve disaster risk management governance with emphasis on decentralization and participation of the different actors at the community, local and national levels

10.      Incorporate and promote a cross-cutting focus on human rights and gender in the formulation and implementation of public policies

11.      Enhance the access to resources and promote the scientific, technical and financial cooperation, and alliances and networks

12.      Promote urban and rural land-use planning and incorporation of risk within policies and regulatory frameworks and instruments as well as within planning codes and standards

13.      Highlight the responsibility of the private sector in building sustainable development

14.      Promote the responsible participation of media in awareness-raising processes, education and public information

15.      Promote integration and coherence among the disaster risk reduction agendas of the United Nations System

Over the course of three days, a wide range of actors participated in four thematic and six parallel sessions to discuss disaster risk reduction issues, including progress towards meeting the international agreement Hyogo Action Framework (HAF) 2005-2015 milestones and defining the region’s contribution to the HFA successor, the HFA2.

UNDP contributed to the Platform by presenting good practices, lessons learned and new initiatives in the IGNITE stage, where all participants had the opportunity to make 20 minutes presentations about new projects or initiatives on disaster risk reduction. UNDP presented four national initiatives - Brazil, Cuba session I, Cuba session II, and Ecuador- and two regional initiatives - Caribbean and Central America.

Positioned as a knowledge organization, UNDP’s booth fostered further knowledge exchange and cooperation by gathering and disseminating case studies, toolkits, guides, and publications on a wide range of themes such as: local risk management, recovery, planning for post-disaster recovery, public investment, linking disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change, vulnerability analysis, sustainable cities, debris management, disaster risk governance and conceptual thinking on risk management and development. More than 2,500 documents were shared with the Platform’s participants.

UNDP made another important contribution to the discussion and thinking on DRR issues by sponsoring two parallel sessions: Integration of the recovery and reconstruction processes in the new Post-2015 Framework for DRR and DRR and South-South and triangular cooperation. The latter session was organized by UNDP and was led by Diego Zorrilla, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Ecuador.

At the beginning of the event, UNDP together with Overseas Development Institute, Climate and Development Knowledge Network and Risk Management Secretary of Ecuador co-chaired the session Disaster Risk Governance at different scales to promote further discussion on governance and public policy for disaster risk reduction.