Regional session
Regional meeting: Asia
Kobe report
The session was organized by the ISDR Asia Partnership. The session’s theme was recent regional efforts on disaster reduction and role of regional action in implementing WCDR outcomes.

The three objectives for the session were to:

  • discuss and identify how the WCDR Programme of Action would be implemented at the national and regional levels in Asia,
  • discuss what the expectations of countries are from the regional institutions for supporting the implementation of the WCDR Programme of Action, and
  • discuss how regional intergovernmental cooperation organizations and regional institutions and IAP would facilitate the implementation of the WCDR Programme of Action.

After recognizing that Asia is, by far, the geographical region most heavily affected by natural disasters, the participants recommended a shift in emphasis from post-disaster reaction to pre-disaster prevention and indicated that risk reduction actions should be immediately adopted by policy makers. Unfortunately, it was recognized that there have not been adequate intra-regional mechanisms to facilitate coordination, research, training and information sharing. Many participants expressed their hope that recent catastrophic disasters such as the Bam earthquake and the Asian Tsunami would provide the necessary momentum to natural disaster risk reduction programmes across the entire region. Multi-country disaster risk reduction initiatives should be developed to increase the impact of these programmes and optimize the available resources. Regional disaster reduction mechanisms should be developed for implementing the plan of action to be produced by the WCDR. These mechanisms should focus on the establishment of early warning systems, mechanisms for the assessment of regional expertise, training programmes at all levels, and utilization of newly available information such as satellite imagery.

Date: 20 January 2005
Time: 08:15 - 09:45
Venue: Ikuta
Organizers: ISDR Asia Partnership (IAP)
Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC)
Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC)
Objectives: Theme: “Recent regional efforts on disaster reduction and expected role of regional action in implementing WCDR outcomes -“
1. To discuss and identify how the WCDR Programme of Action would be implemented at the national and regional level in Asia,
2. To discuss what the expectations of countries are from the regional institutions for supporting the implementation of the WCDR Programme of Action, and
3. To discuss how regional intergovernmental cooperation organizations and regional institutions and IAP would facilitate the implementation of the WCDR Programme of Action.
Co Chairs: Dr. Chung Rae Kwon (UN/ESCAP), Mr. Praveen Pardeshi (UNDP)
Co Facilitators: Mr. Aloysius J. Rego (ADPC), Ms. Etsuko Tsunozaki (ADRC)

Agenda and speakers:

Introduction: Dr. Chung Rae Kwon (UN/ESCAP)
Presentations: “Good practices in regional cooperation and expectations for regional
institutions ”
· Dr. Seyed Mahmood Fatami Aghda (Natural Disaster Research Institute, Iran)
· Mr. Khusav Sharifov (UNDP Tajikistan)
· Mr. Peou Samy (ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management)
· Dr. Wang Zhenyao (National Disaster Reduction Center, China)
· Mr. Anil K. Sinha (Former Executive Director, National Center for Disaster Management, Government of India)
· Mr. Masayuki Kitamoto (ADRC)
· Mr. Aloysius J. Rego (ADPC)
· Mr. Terje Skavdal (UN/OCHA)
· Mr. Praveen Pardeshi (UNDP)
· Mr. Ti Le-Huu (UN/ESCAP)
· Ms. Helena Molin-Valdes (UN/ISDR)
Closing remarks: Dr. Chung Rae Kwon (UN/ESCAP)


Regional meeting: Africa
Kobe report
The objective of this session was to discuss mutually beneficial issues concerning the environment and disaster risk reduction in Africa. The adoption of the African Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in 2004, the Plan of Implementation as well as the Guideline for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction in Development were highlighted as some of the significant progress made in Africa in the past year. Mention was made of the establishment of nine new national platforms to promote disaster risk reduction. These platforms enhance multi-sectoral collaboration, and assist in mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into development practices. Furthermore, it was noted that various networks for disaster risk reduction were established between national governments, NGOs, journalists, sub-regional organizations and disaster risk reduction experts. It was emphasized that the momentum gained in Africa over the past two years needs to be maintained. The activities of the UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery’s Disaster Reduction Unit in Africa were also discussed. An increasing number of African governments are proceeding to establish national platforms and incorporating disaster risk reduction into national development policies. To further this purpose the ISDR and UNDP encouraged states to engage them as active partners in this regard.

The activation of the Plan of Implementation into concrete outcomes and tangible results came to the fore. Participants felt strongly that the WCDR should be used more effectively to raise the awareness of disaster risk in Africa. There is also a strong need for information sharing and collaboration which could be facilitated by the ISDR in Africa.

Some of the most significant comments made by participants present were:

  • Supports were voiced for the establishment an early warning system located in Africa.
  • A collaborative information sharing network is suggested in order to build a knowledge base and share information.
  • Silent disasters like HIV/AIDS must not be forgotten because they do not attract as much media attention as other disasters.
  • The role of women in environmental protection and implementing the ISDR was emphasized.
  • Disaster risk reduction must be linked to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers.
Date: 20 January
Time: 10:00 – 11:00
Venue: Kitano Meeting Room
Organizers: UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
UN Inter-agency secretariat of the International Strategy
for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR)
Regional meeting: Small Island Development States (SIDS)
Kobe report
The objective of the session was to reach a conclusion on the strategies and activities for improving disaster risk reduction in SIDS and to convey their experience for consideration in the development of future frameworks for action in advancing global disaster reduction. SIDS’ uniqueness results from the frequency and intensity of natural and environmental hazards and related disaster risks and their increasing impact. Their vulnerability is increasing. The resilience of SIDS has not kept pace with their increased exposure to risks and as a result they face disproportionately high economic, social and environmental costs. Some of the root problems SIDS face range from a dependency on international trade, limited employment and livelihood possibilities, costly infrastructure and administration, limited institutional capacity and natural resources, poverty, high freight costs due to geographical isolation, risk of loss of biodiversity, limited disaster response alternatives, and an increase in the risk of pollution due to shipping and tourism. These circumstances exacerbate the exposure to natural hazards and the inability to respond to crisis events.

The meeting emphasised the need to define approaches of national intra- and inter-regional collaboration in implementing the outcomes of the Kobe, Hyogo WCDR. The common goals and collective commitments in the Barbados Programme of Action, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the Millennium Development Goals should be consistent with the outcomes of the Kobe, Hyogo WCDR.

The recurring theme of the integration of disaster risk reduction and development practices were also a point of discussion. In light of the recent tsunami disaster, additional attention was given to the need for effective early warning systems for SIDS in line with the Barbados Programme of Action and the recently agreed Mauritius Strategy for the further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.

Date: 20 January
Time: 8:15 to 10h00
Venue: Waraku
Organizers: Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS)
Themes: To discuss and reach conclustion on the strategies and activities for improving disaster risk reduction in SIDS, and to provide text for the draft of the WCDR outcome document.
Despite the level of commitment made at the Yokohama Conference in 1994 (at the same time as BPoA), the challenge that disasters place on sustainable development in SIDS today is greater than ever. SIDS have to define the approaches whereby they can embark and strengthen national intra- and inter-regional collaboration in implementing the WCDR outcomes, and appropriately reflecting how these approaches allow systematic merging with the common goals and collective commitments in BPoA, JPol and MDGs which are also addressed in the Yokohama strategy.
Regional Session: Central America in Perpective Round Table Discussion.
Regional Challenges on Risk Reduction
The Central American Regional Session was coordinated by the Central American Center for Natural Disaster Reduction (CEPREDENAC). While the region has been considered a pioneer in conceptualizing regional collaboration, it was recognized that actions to reduce the risk associated with natural disasters are still to be implemented. Challenges include mechanisms to increase collaboration and better coordination at regional level in order to move from conceptual frameworks to actual actions.

The participants highlighted the fact that the region’s economies are moving towards the establishment of free trade agreements that may have social effects that could increase social vulnerability to disasters. Given this, recommendations were made emphasizing especial attention to the poorest strata of society and paying specific consideration to the cultural and ethnic differences in the region.

There was general agreement that any proposed plans or strategies must be concrete, measurable, and realistic. There is an urgent need in the region for evaluation of the actual impact of the work that is being done in order to optimize resources and make the necessary adjustments. The (Hurricane) Mitch +5 meeting was a first step in that direction. Decentralization of risk reduction initiatives and programs is required to better reflect and respond to the local needs. Capacity building programs for local authorities and institutions are a priority of any proposed regional program. There was consensus on the need to consider disaster risk reduction as a development issue and not as a humanitarian issue. Risk management should be an integral component of development programs.

The international agencies working in the region expressed their preference to support and promote regional efforts to increase the impact of risk reduction programs and strengthen the existing regional frameworks and institutional structures.

Date: 19 January
Time: 08:15 am to 9:45 am
Venue: Waraku room
Organizers: Coordination Center For the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America. CEPREDENAC
Objectives: Background: Regional Challenges in Risk ReductionFollowing up un the Strategic Framework for Risk Reduction in Central America, signed by all Central American Presidents during the 1999 Summit in Guatemala, CEPREDENAC initiated a process in order to Evaluate the achievements and challenges still pending in order to advance in Risk Reduction in the Central American Region. In December 2003 a Regional Workshop “Mitch + 5 concluded” brought together Government, Non Government and the International Community together in order to gather information on Risk Reduction efforts throughout the region.

The need of the construction of a common regional view for the World Conference was one of the outlines that came about in the Mitch + 5 Statement in 2003.The purpose of this round table is to bring together, Government Officials, International Community and NGO’s to discuss the trends in Central America and Challenges identified for the years to come. The session will be in Spanish.


Opening: Mr. Luis Gómez Barahona, Chairmen for the Round Table and President of CEPREDENAC. Representative for Honduras.1ST Panelists: (8:15 – 8:50)

  • Mr. Gerónimo Giusto. Executive Secretary for CEPREDENAC, Nicaragua; Basics for a Regional Risk Reduction Program 2006- 2009
  • Mr. Antonio Arenas, Director SNET, El Salvador. Risk Management as a Key for Regional Integration and Development
  • Mr. Marco Adamson B. Costa Rica. Economic impacts and Political Costs of Disasters in Central America
  • Mr. Victor Campos, NGO, Social Challenges for Risk Reduction

2nd Panelists: (8:50 – 9:20) Coments on behalf of the Panel regarding Perspectives from International Community for Future Challenges for Central America.

  • Mr. Sálvano Briceño, ISDR
  • Mr. Ronald Parker. World Bank
  • Maribel Rodríguez, Specialist. Environment and Sustainable Development for Latin America. UNDP
  • OCHA
  • Jica
Regional Session: Geographical proximity- common threats
The participants agreed that the challenge is to minimize the losses that affect development. While the fundamental concept to guide the actions is that learning to live with risk is a necessity, there was consensus that the principal approach should be the integration of disaster risk into socio-economic development processes with four pillars: 1) Mainstreaming of disaster management, 2) Advocacy to incorporate disaster management into development programs, 3) Strengthening of institutional capacity, and 4) Support to research efforts, including those that incorporate information technology and knowledge management. 

In the case of Latin America, disasters in the region have been drivers of change. As a result processes have moved from response to preparedness, then to mitigation and preparedness, and finally to the relationships between disasters and development. The constant presence and use of regional mechanisms has been instrumental in influencing national policies. However, the growing number of agencies involved in disaster reduction makes it increasingly complicated to coordinate activities. Disasters do not require new institutions but require existing institutions to rethink the way they work. It was suggested that a regional approach is the most effective mechanism to achieve effective risk reduction.

In Africa, while the number of disasters and affected people are steadily increasing, fatalities have declined dramatically due to better response capacities in the region as well as more effective international assistance. A similar situation has occurred in the Caribbean were the number of facilities due to hurricanes has declined significantly, illustrating the effectiveness of early warning systems. It has also been observed, however, that poverty still reduces the effectiveness of all of these risk reduction programs.

Since natural disasters know no boundaries, regional initiatives are the most effective and logical risk reduction mechanisms. Given that, exchange and dissemination of information and good practices become crucial issues. In this sense, mechanisms should be implemented to ensure the quality and reliability of information as well as to guarantee its effective dissemination.

The participants justified the importance of regional cooperation by pointing out that it is the most effective way to link national and international efforts, generate well-established political, policy and institutional frameworks, and provide sustainability to risk reduction activities. Additionally, by working together, national or local organizations or initiatives have the weight they could never achieve if they worked individually.

Date: 21 January 2004
Time: 15h00 to 18h00
Venue: Plenary Hall Ohwada
Organizers: Organizers – regional entities of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction (IATF/DR):
- African Union (AU)
- Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC)
- Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC)
- Council of Europe
- European Commission Joint Research Centre (EC/JRC)
- Organization of American States (OAS)/ Inter-American Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction (IACNDR)
- South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC)
Interpretation: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian and in Japanese.
Chair: Suvit Yodmani, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC)
Rapporteur: Hesphina Rukato, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)
Agenda: (tentative)


- Introduction by the Chair (5’)

Panel A - Regional and sub regional mechanisms for disaster reduction

  • Regional Strategies - integration of disaster risk reduction into sustainable development (8’)
    Foday Bojang – African Union (AU)
  • Regional disaster reduction strategies, the role of the United Nations Economic and Social Commissions (8’)
    Kim Hak-Su - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
  • Regional multi-sectoral policies for disaster reduction – (8’)
    Danièle Smadja - European Commission, Directorate-General External Relations
  • Regional early warning and preparedness systems – the lessons from EWC-II (8’)
    Jeremy Collymore - Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA)
  • Analysis of role and function of regional disaster management organizations: a 30 year trend (8')
    Jean Luc Poncelet, Organization of American States, Inter-American Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction (OAS/IACNDR


- Discussion (15’)


Panel B - Regional entity roles in implementing the outcomes of the WCDR

  • Awareness raising – challenges in building a regional culture of safety (8’)
    Masayuki Kitamoto, Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC)
  • Transboundary extreme climate threats and exchange of information (8’)
    Laban Ogallo - Regional Climate Information Center for Africa (ICPAC)
  • Disaster response & reduction - a catalyst for regional cooperation (8’)
    Peou Samy - ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management
  • Networking initiatives for the exchange of information and experiences (8’)
    Geronimo Giusto - Coordination Center for the Prevention of Natural Disaster in Central America (CEPREDENAC)
  • Regional strategies for disaster reduction related to the health sector (8’)
    Mark Keim - Center for Disease Control (CDC)


- Discussion (15’)
- Wrap-up by Chair (3’)