Latin America and the Caribbean will increase its disaster preparedness through strengthened regional cooperation

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction – Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO)
Latin America and the Caribbean will will increase its disaster preparedness through strengthened regional cooperation

The European Union (EU) announced the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Disaster Preparedness and Risk Management (DRM) with Intergovernmental Organizations (IGO) from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The announcement was made during the "Disaster Preparedness saves lives'' event, organized by the EU in partnership with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) as part of the EU-Latin America and Caribbean Forum program.

The MoU focus on improving cooperation between the EU and LAC on disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction.

To accomplish this goals, EU is partnering with subregional IGO’s specialized in disaster risk management: Coordination Center for Disaster Prevention in Central America and the Dominican Republic (CEPREDENAC), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Andean Nations Community/Andean Committee for Disaster Prevention and Response (CAN-CAPRADE) and the Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (RMAGIR) from Mercosur.

Over the past decade, UNDRR has become a key partner of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) in the delivery and development of its programs. In the case of this MoU, UNDRR will support the evolution of this shared vision between the EU and the IGOs, as well as facilitate efforts to advance the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

"The region has a history of collaboration and bringing all different actors around the table together. This MoU joins the risk reduction agenda at all scales by promoting local initiatives, good practices and training across government entities, stakeholders and communities”, said Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNDRR. “Our strengthened partnership, with the IGO’s and the European Union is essential. By working together, we can secure a resilient and sustainable future for all”, she added.  

The SRSG also emphasized the importance of political commitment in building a resilient future. "These political commitments were consolidated in the regional position presented at the High-level Meeting on the Sendai Framework MidTerm Review in New York, where all UN Member States committed to accelerate action."

She also highlighted the role that the Early Warnings for All Initiative should have, which has given a major boost in momentum to save lives and ensure everyone on earth is covered by early warnings by 2027. Supporting local communities and civil society in the region to play a key role in this will be crucial.

"For three decades, the EU has been present in the Latin America and Caribbean region, strengthening disaster preparedness and emergency response. This support has so far totaled nearly €350 million and reached 30 million people. However, in a region that is among the world's most disaster-prone and subjected to increasingly frequent and impactful disasters, we must act together to further preparedness and keep people safe," said Janez Lenarcic, European Commissioner for Crisis Managemen. "Disaster preparedness saves lives, protects communities, and preserves development gains. This is why I am confident that our new humanitarian funding will also help strengthen cooperation and risk management across the region," he added.

Lenarcic also announced that the EU will invest over 42 million Euros this year in humanitarian aid in the Latin American and the Caribbean region, which includes 13.5 million Euros to enhance disaster preparedness. This funding for 2023 aims to address urgent humanitarian needs across the region, including those resulting from the Venezuelan crisis, food insecurity, exposure to natural hazards, transcontinental migration, as well as the consequences of pervasive violence, conflict, and displacement.

"Our work together has been crucial. Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the most disaster-affected regions in the world. One quarter of all disasters and more than half of the global economic losses from climate-related disasters between 1997 and 2017 occurred in this region," added the SRSG. "We have made significant progress in the region. Overall, disaster risk governance and policies have become much more inclusive, recognizing the people most at risk, including women, persons with disabilities, and youth."

The event also served as a platform to provide a long-term and broader spectrum view of the life-saving role of disaster preparedness and disaster risk management in Latin America and the Caribbean. It showcased the evolution of disaster preparedness and emergency response in the region and aligning them with the Sendai Framework priorities and highlighted cooperation between the EU and LAC countries ahead of the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the European Union. 

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