2.3. Inter-country actors in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Collaboration and partnerships with regional disaster management and coordination bodies (in Latin America and the Caribbean) account for significant advances in all aspects of disaster risk reduction:

  • In Central America, the Center for the Coordination of Natural Disaster Prevention (CEPREDENAC), created in 1988, is an inter-governmental organization that promotes and coordinates international cooperation and the exchange of information, experience and technical and scientific advice on disaster prevention, risk reduction, and response. CEPREDENAC is a specialized agency of the Central American Integration System (SICA). Through a regional dialogue and in line with Central America’s Strategic Plan for Disaster Reduction, CEPREDENAC works to a) promote vulnerability reduction as an indispensable element of the development process; b) expand the participation of other sectors and civil society; c) strengthen local capacity for disaster risk reduction; and d) improve disaster response capacity at local, national and regional level. Read more about CEPREDENAC’s multi-year plan for disaster risk reduction (this is available in Spanish only).
  • In the Caribbean, Commonwealth Caribbean leaders transformed the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) into a Common Market and established the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Decades later, CARICOM’s Secretary General pointed to the critical link between an effective and comprehensive disaster management policy in the Caribbean and a successful CARICOM Single Market and Economy. To that end, Regional decision-makers recognized that building capacity in disaster management is not merely a post-disaster humanitarian exercise. Rather, it must form part of the priority planning and be supported with adequate allocation of resources. Read more about how CARICOM views this issue.
  • The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) was created by CARICOM in 1991 (until September 2009, the agency was known as CDERA). CDEMA has 18 participating member states and is the implementing agency for CARICOM’s disaster policies. CDEMA embraces the principles and practice of the Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM), which is an integrated and proactive approach to disaster management. The expanded mandate (from CDERA to CDEMA) positions the organization to act as facilitator, coordinator and motivating force for CDM. Through CDEMA, CARICOM member states endorse and apply principles of the Caribbean Cooperation in Health framework (CCH). Three of the outcomes of the CCH relate to disaster management: a) a health sector organized and prepared to respond to disasters through safe hospitals and health care facilities; b) a health sector organized and prepared to respond to mass casualty national/regional events/disasters; and c) strengthened capacity of Member States to perform essential public health functions (one of which relates to disasters).
  • In the Andean Region of South America, CAPRADE (in Spanish) (Andean Committee for Disaster Prevention and Response) is the multisector agency charged with reducing disaster risk and the impact of natural and manmade disasters on the population of the region. CAPRADE is a coordinating body, created in 2002, within the framework of the Andean Community (CAN). CAPRADE’s Andean Strategy for Disaster Prevention and Response (in Spanish) is in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action and includes the issue of hospitals safe from disasters. The latest version of the plan demonstrates the commitment of Andean countries to the goals relating to safe hospitals, as outlined in the HFA for 2015. It also reinforces the Resolution passed at a meeting of PAHO’s Directing Council. CAPRADE’s strategic plan served as the basis for development of other related activities in MERCOSUR. Peru has used it to promote the topic at APEC. The strategic plan was developed in close coordination with the Andean regional health organization, the Convenio Hipólito Unánue (in Spanish) (ORAS/CONHU).
  • MERCOSUR, the Common Market of the South (South America), was created in 1991 and is composed of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are associate members. Two entities under MERCOSUR are involved with issues related to disasters. The first is the Inter-governmental Commission on Risk Management and Vulnerability Reduction (CIGGRRV). This Commission is made up of representatives responsible for disaster management and risk reduction in the ministries of health of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and those with similar positions in Peru, Chile and Venezuela (the latter is still not a full member of MERCOSUR). PAHO/WHO has also formed part of this Commission. Early work by the Commission, in the form of a subregional meeting in 2004, helped lay the groundwork for the Andean Region disaster plan mentioned earlier. The second entity is the Specialized Meeting on Risk Reduction for Socio-natural Disasters, Civil Defense, Civil Protection and Humanitarian Assistance (REHUI). Support is being provided to create a subregional mechanism for humanitarian assistance for MERCOSUR countries.
  • The Organization of American States (OAS) came into being in 1948, and was established to achieve “an order of peace and justice, to promote solidarity, strengthen collaboration, and defend sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence.” The Pan American Health Organization is the health arm of this regional body. Today, the OAS is made up of 35 independent states of the Americas and has granted permanent observer status to 63 states, as well as to the European Union. At the 5th Summit of the Americas in 2009, the OAS committed to improving regional cooperation and strengthening national technical and institutional capacity for disaster reduction, prevention, preparedness and response, rehabilitation, resilience, risk reduction, impact mitigation, and evaluation. The OAS is working to strengthen our monitoring, surveillance, communications and early warning systems and encourages the sharing of information and research on disasters. Read more about the follow up and implementation to the OAS mandate on disaster management.