LAC Legislators to Create Regional Unit for Disaster Risk Management

parlatino30 January 2014: The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) has reported that the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino) has approved a 'protocol' committing legislators from its 23 member countries to create a Regional Unit for Disaster Risk Management and integrate common principles of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience building into national legislation.

UNISDR underlines that the protocol will be a key input to the fourth session of the Regional Platform on DRR in the Americas, scheduled to take place from 27-29 May 2014, in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The protocol, which is not legally binding, commits parliamentarians to seek through their national legislatures the creation of the Regional Unit to integrate and coordinate the policies, strategies and frameworks developed by various subregional intergovernmental bodies working on DRR, such as Central America's Coordination for the Prevention of Natural Disasters (CEPREDENAC), the Caribbean's Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Andean Community's Committee for the Prevention and Attention to Disasters (CAPRADE) and the Common Market of the South's (MERCOSUR) Specialized Committee for the Reduction of Socio-natural Disaster Risks, Civil Defense, Civil Protection, and Humanitarian Assistance (REHU). The Unit would: seek to unify and coordinate policies, strategies, plans and guidelines in both DDR and disaster response; adopt technical measures; create a regional early warning system; and offer recommendations for the creation of a regional fund to promote risk management and address the effects of disasters.

The protocol, which was adopted in November 2013, also commits legislators to adopt new legislation or adapt existing legislation to include certain common elements, such as creating early alert systems, promoting active civil society participation in risk reduction and disaster response planning, and integrating DRR into other laws, policies and plans at all levels of government.

UNISDR advised Parlatino on technical aspects of the proposal. Based in Panama City, Panama, Parlatino is a consultative assembly composed of 12 nominated plenipotentiaries from member parliaments in Argentina, Aruba, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela. [UNISDR Press Release] [Protocol Text (in Spanish)] [Parlatino Website]