2.2 Multisector partners

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2 2 socios multisectoriales-eng

It has often been said that minimizing the health impact of disasters and emergencies is too big a job for the health sector alone.  Achieving this goal requires the commitment and active support of many different agencies, sectors and individuals. It also requires joint training initiatives in a variety of areas that often are still new to the health sector. The involvement of multisector partners will have the value added of gaining buy-in from non-health professionals, who are critical to achieving health sector objectives.

  • Ministries of finance and planning: Ministries of finance, planning, and development also have recognized the importance of risk reduction as essential to sustainable development. They often receive support from multinational organizations, which has contributed to awareness of the issues outside the health sector. However, ensuring that awareness translates into concrete action requires continued efforts to engage key ministries as part of efforts to integrate risk management into the everyday business of government, especially to improve investment in mitigation measures for key infrastructure such as hospitals.
  • Ministries of foreign affairs: it is important for the health sector to engage in an ongoing dialogue with ministries of foreign affairs, particularly with regard to issues concerning post-disaster international aid. For many years, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean, ministries of foreign affairs have played a strong part in two important ways: prior to disasters, their involvement at national level in setting policies and guidelines regarding effective aid has helped to facilitate the movement of goods and services in a disaster-stricken country. Staff from ministries of foreign affairs serving in traditional donor countries have also been instrumental in shaping public opinion as to what constitutes good donations. This partnership with the health sector, which requires strong collaboration in non-disaster times, is more important than ever as many more countries in the Americas are becoming donors of humanitarian aid, particularly inter-regionally.
  • Police, civil protection systems and military forces: these national agencies have a critical role to play, particularly in rapid response. Many are also taking an increasingly important role in preparing to face emergencies. For example, the US military sponsors an exercise called FAHUM (Humanitarian Armed Forces). FAHUM is an annual disaster relief field training and command post exercise involving military and civilian agencies in the Region. The exercise is typically held before the start of the Atlantic hurricane season and provides a mission rehearsal exercise that tests and improves regional and national disaster response capabilities within Central America and the Caribbean Basin. View a short video on the 2009 FAHUM exercise. In many instances in Latin America and the Caribbean, Civil Protection is the lead agency for the UNISDR National Platforms, which are described in a later section on UN agencies.
  • Municipalities and local governments: For some time now, the health sector in the Americas has steadily pursued a process of decentralization—shifting both responsibilities and resources from the central level to the departmental or municipal level, in the belief that health resources should be located in the communities that use them. This strategy of decentralization has allowed local authorities and health professionals to make fundamental decisions regarding individual and community health and devise disaster preparedness and risk reduction strategies in their countries.
  • International financial institutions: establishing more structured and systematic relationships with the principal IFIs, including the World Bank and the Regional Development Banks in Latin America and the Caribbean (IADB, CDB, CAF, BCIE, etc.) enhance technical and advocacy work. The World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) is a partnership of 35 countries, the ACP Secretariat, the European Commission, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, and the World Bank, committed to helping disaster-prone developing countries and regions reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and adapt to climate change. GFDRR works to mainstream disaster risk reduction in national development strategies and investments, and as part of its mandate, GFDRR promotes global knowledge and good practices, supports initiatives for enhanced global and regional cooperation, and promotes greater South-South cooperation in disaster risk reduction.
  • Media and journalist networks: in emergency and disaster situations, the media can be both consumers and providers of information. Therefore, it is important to forge partnerships between the media and the health sector during normal times. Pre-established partnerships with media outlets make it easier to engage them in time of disasters and emergencies. During this period they serve as a critical partner to facilitate the transmission of messages that can generate humanitarian aid, inform public behavior, and contribute to reducing the loss of life in disaster situations.
  • Universities, libraries, information and research centers, etc.there is already significant collaboration with a range of academic institutions and centers. This is particularly noteworthy in the area of information management and the surveillance of disease outbreaks that lead to health crises. Health information networks, such as the CRID, the multiagency Regional Disaster Information Center and the CANDHI (Central American Network for Disaster Health Information) are key players in the collection, organization and dissemination of this type of information.