Participants in the PISEC launch discuss and check details of the plan. Front row, from left to right: Maria Lucia Ojeda Gutierrez, National Council of Disability Equality, Ecuador; Germán Xavier Torres, Vice President, National Council of Disability Equality, Ecuador; Ricardo Latorre of Argentina; Gerardo Burgos, Secretary of Sports, Buenos Aires; and Carlos Kaiser, Inclusiva. (Photo: Loreto Brossar/ Inclusiva)
MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina, 9 July 2015
– Argentina has rolled out a new plan to ensure that the interests of people with disabilities are part of its efforts to tackle disaster risk, an inclusive approach that reflects the goals of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The “Inclusive Plan for Emergency and/or Disaster Situations” (PISEC), which covers the huge province of Buenos Aires, was drawn up by the authorities together with Inclusiva, an award-winning NGO for people with disabilities, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization. It provides for the coordination of actions for disaster risk reduction between municipalities, organizations of and for people with disabilities, and the provincial government.
The province of Buenos Aires, which includes the eponymous Argentine capital, covers 307,571 square kilometres, making it around the same size as Italy. Home to some 15.6 million people, it is the largest province in the country and the third-largest sub-national entity in the whole of Latin America.
The province has faced repeated climate challenges, such as the heavy rains of April 2013 which flooded the capital, the city of La Plata and surrounding areas, claiming 78 lives and causing more than US$2.6 million in damage.
The PISEC initiative delivers capacities for the creation of emergency mapping, developing family emergency plans and community versions that include all members of society. It will help update an “Inclusive Emergency Management Manual” -- produced with UN support in 2013 -- to focus on the specific needs and contexts of the province of Buenos Aires.
The all-society approach to disaster risk reduction is a theme running throughout the Sendai Framework, a 15-year global plan adopted at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan in March. The aim is to ensure that no-one is left out of risk reduction planning, in order to ensure maximum impact as the world tries to rein in the number of lives lost and the economic damage inflicted by both natural and man-made hazards.
People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to disasters because of health, architectural and technological barriers, making it all the more important for their voices to be heard when planning to reduce risk.
“The PISEC initiative facilitates compliance with the Sendai Framework, especially with regard to disability and emergency, and shows that international cooperation bears fruit on our continent, enabling progress towards a safer world for all,” said Carlos Kaiser, Executive Director of Inclusiva.
Pantaleón Parisi, Provincial Director of Operational Assistance of the Undersecretariat for Coordination of Policy Integration (COPRODIS, said: “Buenos Aires is integration”.
He noted that his team had been working with Mr. Kaiser since 2011, first on the emergency manual and then, in 2014, on the PISEC initiative, with the overarching goal being to save lives and protect people and their livelihoods.
Inclusiva is based in Argentina’s neighbouring Chile, where it was born out of the 2010 earthquake and tsunami. It won the 2014 edition of the RISK Award, which honours organizations that work to address the interlocking challenges of population development, environmental and climate change, as well as the complexity of technical systems and infrastructure. Inclusiva was also a nominee for the 2015 edition of the United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction.