The Future of Disaster Risk Management

South America is anticipating natural disasters by planning for them. On June 2 and 3, 2016, the Executive Technical Group Meeting on Disaster Risk Management (link in Spanish) took place in Lima, Peru, as part of the COSIPLAN/IIRSA Work Plan, which is coordinated by INTAL. The meeting was attended by delegations from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela and representatives from the General Secretariat of UNASUR and the IIRSA Technical Coordination Committee. Also present were representatives from research centers in Chile and Peru and consultants who specialize in this field.



Pilot Study on Disaster Risk Management in Chile and Peru

The COSIPLAN countries have developed a Methodology for Incorporating Disaster Risk Management (DRM) into Integration Infrastructure. The initiative is being coordinated by Chile and is receiving technical support from the IDB. Chile and Peru have complete a pilot project for this methodology in an area that is at risk from seismic activity and tsunamis. During the first day of the meeting, the results of the pilot project and the lessons learned from it were shared with the other UNASUR countries[1].

The five key points from the discussion of the methodology and the two countries’ experiences applying it are as follows:


National Experiences that Enrich Regional Policies

Over the course of the second day, the experiences of countries in the region were presented, with an emphasis on how they had prepared for and coped with different natural hazards.

Actividades2Argentina: handling of the flood-related emergency the country is currently experiencing (2015–2016) due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

Actividades21Colombia: guidelines for risk management in rebuilding infrastructure, based on the flooding-related emergency caused by the La Niña phenomenon in 2010.

Actividades22Chile: the experience of the Ministry of Public Works during the catastrophes of 2015, particularly in relation to the planning of the coastal area and protection infrastructure in response to the tsunamis and tidal surges that occurred that year.

Actividades23Peru: prospective and corrective risk management components developed by the National Center for Estimates, Prevention, and Disaster Risk Reduction (CENEPRED) in the.


Particularly important was the perspective of two research centers in the region: Chile’s National Research Center for Integrated Natural Disaster Management (CIGIDEN) and Peru’s Japanese-Peruvian Center of Seismic Investigations and Disaster Mitigation (CISMID). The most significant points they put forward were:



Disaster Risk Management on the UNASUR/COSIPLAN Agenda

UNASUR’s High-Level Working Group on Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management (GTAN/GIRD) is a permanent space for coordinating the different Sector Council initiatives relating to this matter. The states present set the goal of working towards adopting common mechanisms and protocols that would enable efficient management of humanitarian aid in the event of a disaster and common risk reduction policies, strategies, and tools.

As part of this initiative, COSIPLAN will make its experience in risk management and infrastructure planning and its Geographic Information System available to the group in order to help establish a strategy to leverage disaster-related cooperation.

The main outcomes of the second day of the meeting are directly linked to UNASUR’s goal of building a coordinated common agenda:

[1] See INTAL Connection no. 235, March 2016 (link to the article)