The Directorate for Disaster Risk Reduction is an instrument that serves to foster co-operation among the organisations responsible for disaster planning and relief in the region, which would allow the prevention and mitigation of risks, for the purpose of incorporating knowledge on prevention, education and planning with respect to the effects of disasters.
Institutional and operating bases
The 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Association of Caribbean States, which was held on July 29, 2005, recognised the vulnerability of Caribbean countries to disasters. Consequently, the Heads agreed to incorporate disaster management and risk reduction into development plans and policies, reaffirming the importance of international and national co-operation in this regard.
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
The Summit also acknowledged the need for the ACS to adjust to the dynamics of the International Agenda that was established with the approval of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), which is characterised by five priorities for action, approved by the World Conference on Disaster Reduction convened in 2005, specifically:
Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation.
Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning.
Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels.
Reduce the underlying risk factors and
Strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response.
The Saint Marc Plan of Action for Disaster Reduction:
Was the main result of the ACS High Level Conference on Disaster Reduction held in Haiti on November 14-16, 2007 and adopted by the 13th Meeting of the Ministerial Council and in that way it became the Work Programme of the Special Committee on Natural Disasters.
Following that meeting, the ACS Secretary General called the group of entities participating in said event the “Conference” or “Conference Bodies”, namely: the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency, the Coordination Centre for Natural Disaster Prevention in Central America, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Pan-American Health Organisation, the United Nations Development Programme, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The Saint-Marc Plan of Action (SMPA) was formulated during that Conference and is a document containing 27 points that will steer the Work Programme of the ACS in the area of disaster risk reduction. It is also the fruit of the exchange of experiences, lessons learnt and best practices in the area of disaster risk reduction, which allowed areas of intra-regional co-operation to be defined in view of the large number of initiatives existing in our region, the scarce resources and the heterogeneity of the various actors involved, in addition to which it takes into account the five priorities of the Hyogo Framework for Action.