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CAF Launches Geopolis at Seminar on Infrastructure for Climate Change

10 July 2012: The Latin American Development Bank (CAF) launched Geopolis, a think tank/network aimed at strengthening institutional capacity, and building a culture of disaster prevention and management in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

The initiative was announced at CAF's Infrastructure for Climate Change Seminar, held on 5 July 2012, in Bogota, Colombia.

Geopolis will start as a network of specialists and scientists from LAC, assisted by international experts, working on specific projects that aim at identifying disaster risks in LAC countries, reducing vulnerabilities and building local capacity to manage potentially strong destructive events. CAF expresses the hope to anchor the network with a "center of thought," a think tank, that can provide technical advice and share, publish and promote best practice on reducing disaster risks, building infrastructure resilience and managing responses to natural disasters.

Initially, Geopolis will address three areas: planning and institutional development; climate change; and earthquake-resistant engineering. On the first, the focus will be on reducing disaster risk in ports, power generation and transmission, and long-distance land transport infrastructure. On climate change, experts will address glacier behavior, water availability in adjacent cities, and the resilience and adaptability of water resources to climate change. As for the third area, experts are already analyzing and comparing current earthquake construction standards in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru, with a view to quantifying risk elements, identifying best practice, key considerations and minima for such standards.

The Infrastructure for Climate Change Seminar, which was organized by CAF, brought together some 300 government representatives, representatives from various regional and international organizations, and experts from Asia, the US, Latin America and Europe to discuss the challenges posed by climate change, extreme weather events and earthquakes to water, energy, transport, housing and health infrastructure in LAC. Among other things, the seminar considered lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in the US, the 2011 tsunami in Japan and the 2010 earthquake in Chile. [CAF Press Release on Seminar] [CAF Press Release on Geopolis] [Seminar Presentations]