Disaster Management
The countries of the Americas recognize that the development, protection and participation of the region’s children and youth is essential to ensure that they reach their full potential. With this in mind, they identified the following issues in the area of children and youth at each of the Summits of the Americas. 


Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2005
IV Summit of the Americas


At the Fourth Summit of the Americas, held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on November 4-5, 2005, Heads of State and Government recognized the increase in natural and man-made disasters and their negative impact on human lives, infrastructure and economies in the region. To reduce the impact of disasters, Leaders agreed to strengthen disaster management programs through increased capacity for preparedness, cost-effective and robust early warning systems, risk mitigation, post-disaster recovery and reconstruction, and technical and financial assistance. Countries agreed to explore, jointly with relevant international and regional institutions, the coordinated development of public-private catastrophic risk insurance systems.



Monterrey, Mexico, 2004
Special Summit of the Americas

In the Declaration of Nuevo León, agreed to the during the Special Summit of the Americas held in Monterrey, Mexico on January 12-13, 2004, the Heads of State and Government of the Americas acknowledged the negative effects of natural disasters in their efforts to promote social development. The leaders committed to increasing cooperation and strengthening the institutions responsible for coordinating measures to mitigate the consequences of natural disasters on people and national development plans. Additionally, the Heads of States and Government, in relation to implementing measures, emphasized mitigation, emergency measures, and risk management at all levels.



Quebec City, Canada, 2001
Third Summit of the Americas

In the Third Summit of the Americas held in Quebec City, Canada in 2001, hemispheric leaders committed to strengthening regional cooperation and national capacities to develop a more integrated approach to the management of natural disasters. To achieve this, governments have also agreed to promote the exchange of information and best practices in an effort to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters. Moreover, they committed to study measures to facilitate timely access to financial resources to address emergency needs.

Third Summit of the Americas, Quebec City, Canada 2001



Disaster Management mandates from theThird Summit of the Americas


Recognizing the need to develop, implement and sustain shared comprehensive disaster management strategies and programs to reduce the vulnerability of our populations and economies to natural and man-made disasters and to maintain or quickly restore minimum levels of consumption, income and production at the household and community levels in the aftermath of disasters, including irregular population settlements; acknowledging in this regard the need to expand the community of stakeholders at the regional, national and local levels engaged in the formulation of early warning systems, the management of risk and response operations in the event of disasters and integrated sustainable development strategies:


  • Develop the capacity to forecast, prepare for and mitigate the potential impacts of natural and man-made hazards; promote vulnerability reduction; adopt and enforce better building codes and standards; ensure appropriate land-use practices; inventory and evaluate the vulnerability of critical facilities and infrastructure; estimate climate change variability and sea-level rise and assess their possible impacts; and in pursuit of the above, create the requisite legal framework and establish the cooperative mechanisms to access and share advances in science and technology and their application in the early warning, preparedness for and mitigation of these hazards;

  • Promote the exchange of information on the vulnerability of infrastructure exposed to disasters as well as the early warning capacity, particularly in the border areas of the countries of the Americas, in order to design specific prevention measures in the fields of engineering and legislation with the aim of reducing the socio-economic impact of natural disasters;

  • Establish or strengthen, where appropriate, partnerships with all relevant actors, including the private sector, technical professional associations, regional institutions, civil society, educational and research institutions and other multilateral coordinating agencies such as the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in the development and implementation of disaster management policies and programs at the national and community levels, and promote greater awareness and effective integration of these policies and programs among national policy makers, local authorities, communities and media, and promote the insurance and reinsurance of the social and economic infrastructure as well as the decentralization of information and decision-making;

  • Promote the exchange of knowledge and experiences regarding the combat against inappropriate practices in the exploitation of natural resources and unsustainable patterns of consumption, including the problems of waste management, which increase the vulnerability of the people to natural disasters;

  • Promote the development of telecommunications for humanitarian assistance; actively encourage greater use and interoperability of telecommunications and other technologies and information systems that allow the observation and monitoring of different natural phenomena; use early warning systems such as remote sensing imagery, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) based data necessary to address and prevent emergencies; promote the compatibility of these systems in the planning and response to emergency operations among governments, specialized agencies, relevant international organizations, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and, in this spirit, consider signing and ratifying, ratifying, or acceding to, as soon as possible and as the case may be, the Tampere Convention on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations;

  • Establish information networks with the involvement of the Inter-American Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction (IACNDR) and other relevant regional and international organizations to exchange scientific and technological knowledge and experiences; encourage further regional and subregional action to reduce risks and improve response to natural disasters; promote joint research and development technologies and contribute to strengthen coordination of national prevention and response agencies in natural disasters; to achieve this, draw on the work of ECLAC on the improvement, up-dating and implementation of its damage assessment methodology and continue to promote natural disaster mitigation and risk reduction awareness and preparedness;

  • Consider the creation of a hemispheric system for prevention and mitigation of disasters that would include, among others, a specialized database containing the best information available on the characteristics, experiences, strengths and weaknesses of national and regional agencies responsible for disaster prevention and mitigation and provide a new framework for technical cooperation and research aimed at creating a hemispheric culture of prevention and solidarity;

  • Adopt and support, as appropriate, initiatives aimed at promoting capacity building at all levels, such as the transfer and development of technology for prevention – risk reduction, awareness, preparedness, mitigation – and response to natural and other disasters, as well as for the rehabilitation of affected areas;

  • Promote mechanisms that incorporate risk management and risk reduction methods in public and private development investments;

  • Convene within a year a hemispheric meeting on disaster preparedness and mitigation with the support of the IACNDR and the participation of a wide range of government entities, regional and MDBs, private entities, NGOs and the research, scientific and technical communities, to discuss and develop cooperative efforts to facilitate implementation of Summit mandates on disaster management;

  • Request the IDB to undertake a feasibility study in partnership with the OAS, the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and other relevant inter-American organizations, as well as the private sector, including insurance companies, on measures to reduce and/or pool risk in a manner that results in reduced premiums on catastrophic insurance, and mechanisms to facilitate contingent re-construction financing and the immediate release of funds to resolve urgent needs of the affected country; this study would examine the relationship between re-insurance and national and community disaster management capacities, as well as trends toward dis-investment and job losses in those economic sectors requiring costly catastrophic insurance coverage and the role such measures might play in this regard; share with the private sector experiences in the development and application of risk management tools such as risk transfer instruments, vulnerability assessment methodologies and risk reduction incentives for the private sector;


Quebec Plan of Action (complete version):  English | Spanish | French | Portuguese

Key documents in the area of Disaster Management





Hemispheric Conference on Vulnerability Reduction to Natural Hazards: Population, Water and Information Networks


On June 12-14, 2002, a Hemispheric Conference on Vulnerability Reduction to Natural Hazards took place in Tampa, Florida, where participants from throughout the hemisphere discussed the issue “Population, Water and Information Networks”.  The meeting was dedicated to analyzing natural disasters and their effects on infrastructure, water resources and the population in general.  Over the three days, experts on these issues participated in several sessions and panel discussions on such topics as Trade Corridors and Risk Management: an Emerging Agenda in the Americas; Safeguarding Water and Related Natural Resources in a Corridor Context; Business View of Investment in Disaster Reduction through Trade Corridor Development; Public Sector Strategy for Trade Corridor Vulnerability; and Populations and Settlements.

At the meeting, Jaime Aparicio, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat for the Summit Process, gave a speech on the disaster reduction and trade corridor agenda of OAS Member States.  To see this speech, please click here.  You can also see more information on the OAS Natural Hazards Project by clicking here

For further details on this meeting, please click here.


Disaster Risk Reduction Hemispheric Conference


The Disaster Risk Reduction Hemispheric Conference was held December 4-6, 2001, in San Jose, Costa Rica.  The conference’s governmental hosts were the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission.  Its agency host was the Pan-American Health Organization and it was co-convened by the Organization of American States. The US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance took the lead in organizing the event. 

Over 500 participants from across the Hemisphere came together for plenary and workshop sessions on implementing the disaster management summit mandates.  This event itself fulfilled the Summit and OAS General Assembly mandate to “Convene within a year a hemispheric meeting on disaster preparedness and mitigation with the support of the Inter-American Committee on National Disaster Reduction and the participation of a wide range of government entities, regional and multilateral development banks, private entities, NGOs and the research, scientific and technical communities, to discuss and develop cooperative efforts to facilitate implementation of Summit mandates on disaster management.” 

Andrew Natsios, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development, opened the conference.  Plenary sessions included issues such as the link to mandates from the Quebec City Summit of the Americas, democracy and disasters, national plans for risk reduction, information management and public awareness, and international actors in the field.  An innovation of the conference was to divide the field into working groups comprised of sectors (agriculture, education, heath and critical facilities) meeting crosscutting issues (finance, civil society, information technology and land use management). Final recommendations were prepared and discussed with a focus on crosscutting issues.  More information on the Conference and its results is available at: http://www.ofdalac.org.





XXXIII OAS General Assembly
Santiago, Chile
June 8-10, 2003



XXXII OAS General Assembly
Bridgetown, Barbados
June 2-4, 2002


  • AG/RES. 1864 (XXXII-O/02) The Socioeconomic and Environmental Impact of Climate Change on the Countries of the Hemisphere

    This Resolution encourages Member States to develop strategies for the mitigation of and adaptation to global climate change, foster a greater awareness in the Americas on climate change issues, and continue funding scientific research into the sources and effects of climate change. Moreover, it requests the General Secretariat to support Member States in preparing strategies and multilateral projects to comply with this Resolution.


  • AG/RES. 1885 (XXXII-O/02) Natural Disaster Reduction

    This Resolution endorses the recommendations of the Inter-American Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction (IACNDR) and urges Member States to give priority to reducing vulnerability and loss of life. In addition, the Resolution requests that IACNDR stimulate the participation of other Inter-American groups and agencies to play a proactive role in the provision of technical expertise in disaster coordination.

  • AG/RES. 1886 (XXXII-O/02) Special Security Concerns of Small Island States of the Caribbean

    This Resolution recognizes the vulnerability of small island states to the effects of terrorism or nuclear waste accidents and calls for multilateral cooperation to address the threats posed to these states. The Resolution resolves to convene the Second High-Level Meeting on the Special Security Concerns of Small Island States in order to identify and discuss the threats. It also instructs the Permanent Council to evaluate the potential risks of the transshipment of nuclear waste through the Caribbean Sea.




XXXI OAS General Assembly
San José, Costa Rica
June 3-5, 2001


  • AG/RES. 1803 (XXXI-O/01) OAS Natural Disaster Reduction and Response Mechanisms

    This Resolution urges Member States to implement the recommendations from the Declarations of Santiago and San Salvador on Confidence and Security Building Measures. It also requests that the Permanent Council prepare a meeting of experts dedicated to evaluate the implementation of these measures and to consider future steps to continue consolidating mutual confidence. Member States are encouraged to continue promoting transparency in their defense policies related to the modernization of the armed forces. At the same time, the Permanent Council is asked to execute a meeting on the Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisitions and two United Nations confidence and security measures. The Resolution asks the Permanent Council, as well, to continue stimulating the exchange of experiences in the area of confidence and security building measures with other regions. Finally, the General Secretariat is charged with putting into operation the cooperative communication network for the instant exchange of information on confidence- and security-building measures.