Actions for climate disaster risk reduction in Latin America

Government authorities and experts in the field exchanged information on the work being carried out in the region related to the monitoring and early warning of climate events as well as damages and losses caused by extreme events.

18 November 2022. Sharm-El-Seikh, Egypt. As part of the COP 27 agenda of activities, the EUROCLIMA pavilion dedicated its seventh thematic day to disaster risk management, deepening through spaces for discussion and experience exchanges the progress, challenges and instruments that have been promoted in order to improve adaptability and risk prevention in Latin America.

The event took place on 16 November and was organised by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the French Development Agency (AFD), implementing entities of the sector "Disaster Risk Reduction and Management: Droughts and Floods" as part of the EUROCLIMA programme.

The sessions brought together international experts and government authorities from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru and Uruguay.

Regional approach to climate change 

During the first session of the day, the theme "SICA Region Strengthening Resilience to Floods and Droughts" was presented, highlighting regional solidarity as a fundamental element in the prevention and adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change.

Werner Vargas, Secretary General of the Central American Integration System (SICA) began this space by mentioning that the union of the international community and the development of joint tools is fundamental to preventing and anticipating extreme weather events.

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For her part, Claudia Herrera, Executive Secretary of the Coordination Centre for Disaster Prevention in Central America and the Dominican Republic (CEPREDENAC), commented on the setback in the development of the countries of the SICA region, from which she recalled elements for strengthening disaster risk prevention, such as: working together, an integral perspective and placing human beings at the centre.

Berta Olmedo, Executive Secretary of the Regional Water Resources Committee (CRRH), continued, referring to the use of technological tools - such as the Virtual Severe Atmospheric Weather Centre - and their contribution to the generation of information for informed decision-making to help enhance meteorological services.

The panel included the participation of Malcolm Stufkens, Vice-Minister of Environment of Honduras, Carlos Pérez, Vice-Minister of Environment of Costa Rica and Fernando López, Vice-Minister of Environment of El Salvador, who presented the progress, plans and needs identified in their countries.

The second session of the day focused on the progress, perspectives and challenges of the implementation of Early Warning Systems (EWS) in the framework of the NDCs in Latin America and their importance for the reduction of damages and losses from events that put vital ecosystems at risk, based on the accumulated achievements and lessons learned.

René Zamora, Senior Manager of the Word Resources Institute (WRI), opened the space to present the need to create integrated multi-hazard systems for risk reduction from disasters other than floods and fires.

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For her part, Claudia Godfrey, Director of Innovation of the Fund for the Promotion of Natural Protected Areas of Peru (PROFONANPE), presented the early warning system for red tides and swells developed by this entity, which differs from the classic EWS and is very well adapted to the prevention of disasters of different types.

Finally, Daniel Martínez, Director of Knowledge Management at the National Institute for Research on Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems (INAIGEM), discussed the relevance of coordination between local governments, civil society and the private sector as a way to favour the sustainability and functioning of early warning systems.

A region committed to disaster risk prevention and management 

The third session of the day opened the space to learn about and discuss progress in the implementation of the damage and loss agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the improvement of the capacity to survey and quantify the impact of current climate events.

To open the space for exchange, María José Pacha, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, presented to the audience the "State of the art on climate impact loss and damage in Latin America and the Caribbean" (see here). This report is the result of a participatory exercise with members of the Community of Practice on Climate Policy Monitoring and Evaluation (CoP M&E), in which loss and damage assessment was identified as a priority topic to be addressed in the 2022 exchange sessions.

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The identification of challenges as part of the survey had a greater incidence on those related to availability and sources of information; indicators and metrics (economic and non-economic losses; future assessment); assessment methodologies; and monitoring and reporting systems. Challenges related to the institutional articulations and arrangements needed to address the issue given its multi-sectoral nature and international frameworks were also identified.

For his part, Juan Labat, Consultant of the Ministry of Environment of Uruguay, shared the results of the Sendai Framework, as a tool that has allowed working with the national emergency actor of Uruguay to carry out an analysis of damages and losses in this country.

In the afternoon of the thematic day, a discussion session focused on the importance of implementing EWS in conjunction with good governance that integrates collaborative work between various actors. This event was joined by some of the day's key panellists and special guests.

Ms. Berta Olmedo referred to the support between countries in the region as a key factor in regionalisation for the mapping of strengths and weaknesses of each Central American country and Daniel Martinez emphasised the relevance of educating communities as a fundamental aspect for them to be promoters of the fight against climate change.

Juan Labat made important contributions on the estimation of damages and losses as an important challenge in certain sectors, which is why the focus should be placed on the accounting and study of climate events, which was reinforced by the intervention of Soledad García, Special Rapporteur of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), who stated that public policy decisions should be made based on scientific evidence, with the protection of human rights as a cross-cutting theme.

Finally, as part of the conclusions of this thematic axis, the contextual situation of Latin America and the Caribbean was recalled, as one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to possible disasters caused by extreme meteorological effects.

In this context, climate forecasting, constant monitoring, EWS and local tools in each community become essential as necessary mechanisms for preventing these disasters.

The international leaders agreed that there must be good governance of all sectors: civil society, government, private enterprise, in order to jointly achieve remediation actions against these risks, i.e. regional and international solidarity is key to the protection and prevention of each of the countries involved. The concept of climate justice was brought up, considering common but differentiated responsibilities.

We invite you to review the day's panels on the YouTube channel of  EUROCLIMA Plus.

About the sector Disaster risk management: droughts and floods 

The sector "Disaster risk management and reduction: droughts and floods" aims for the adoption of disaster risk management and reduction plans by national governments in Latin America to promote the integrated management of flood and drought risks in the context of climate change, taking as a reference the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the commitments adopted by the countries in their fight against climate change.

This sector of EUROCLIMA+ is driven by two implementing agencies: the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the French Development Agency (AFD). 
Find out more about the Risk Management without Borders project at https://www.euroclima.org/en/risk-management 

Werner Vargas, Secretario General del SICA    Soledad García, Relatora Especial sobre los DESCA de la CIDH 
 
Juan Labat, Consultor del Ministerio de Ambiente, Uruguay   Claudia Godfrey, Directora de Innovación y Gestión de Profonanpe
 
Berta Olmedo, Secretaria Ejecutiva del CRRH   Sergio Garrido, AECID
 

About EUROCLIMA+ 

EUROCLIMA+ is a programme funded by the European Union to promote environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient development in 18 Latin American countries, in particular for the benefit of the most vulnerable populations. The Programme is implemented under the synergistic work of seven agencies: the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the French Development Agency (AFD), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Expertise France (EF), the International and Ibero-America Foundation for Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH, and UN Environment. 
 
Contacts 

For more information about EUROCLIMA+, contact Alexandra Cortés: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
For information about the EUROCLIMA+ Risk Management component, write toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

EUROCLIMA letra blanca peqEUROCLIMA+ is the European Union's flagship programme on environmental sustainability and climate change with Latin America. It aims to reduce the impact of climate change and its effects in Latin America by promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation through resilience and investment. 
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