International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Issue: 13/2006- 12/2006 - 11/2005 - 10/2005 - 9/2004 - 8/2003 - 7/2003 - 6/2002 - 5/2002 - 4/2001- 3/2001

Global ISDR


Outline for Cooperation with National Platforms
Inter-Agency Secretariat for the ISDR

This outline should be read in conjunction with the "Framework for Action
for the implementation of the ISDR"
August, 2001, please visit the ISDR website:


National participation, as the primary ingredient for sub-regional, regional and international cooperation with regard to natural disaster reduction, is a critical factor of success of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). The Secretariat for the ISDR is therefore directing its efforts towards an expansion and strengthening of its national platform network.

The expression "national platform" is a generic term first used in UN ECOSOC Resolution 1999/63 in order to emphasize the need for disaster reduction to be multi-sectoral and inter-disciplinary with the involvement of all concerned entities within a country, including UN agencies present at the national level. The designation "ISDR national committee", "ISDR focal point" or any other name is at the discretion of the national platform itself. National platforms are designated as such by their governments and serve as an interface between national and international levels within the ISDR. They are free to use the ISDR logo and may represent the Secretariat for the ISDR, upon its request, at national, regional or international gatherings relevant to ISDR concerns.

It should be noted that in addition to the national platforms, the Secretariat for the ISDR has developed with time, a number of informal contacts in a number of countries. Some of these contacts may be already involved in the national platform in which case, they are being encouraged to communicate with the Secretariat for the ISDR through the ISDR national platform of their country. In any event, the national platform should be kept informed and copied on all relevant correspondence between the Secretariat and contacts at national level.

Due to its interagency nature, the Secretariat for the ISDR is also working in close collaboration with UN agencies having representation at national level, particularly UNDP, in order to ensure complementarity of action. The Secretariat will therefore keep these agencies informed on its cooperation with national platforms and encourage the latter to seek their support and advice with respect to activities related to their area of competence.


1. Objective

To strengthen the cooperation between national platforms and the Secretariat for the ISDR and build a strong national platform network in order to ensure political commitment and increase capacity for the implementation of the ISDR.

2. Rationale

The present guidelines are based on responsibilities shared between the governments and the UN through their respective roles, which are defined by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as follow:

  • Governments to maintain and strengthen established national and multisectoral platforms for natural disaster reduction in order to achieve sustainable development goals and objectives, with the full utilization of scientific and technical means.
  • Each Government to decide on the form and structure of the multisectoral platform in its own country.
    (See Secretary-General's Report to the UNGA, 1999, A/54/497, para. 32)
  • The Secretariat for the ISDR to backstop the policy and advocacy activities of national committees for natural disaster reduction.
  • (See Secretary-General's Report to the UNGA, 1999, A/54/497, para. 25.e)

As a result, it is expected that ISDR national platforms should:

  • benefit from the necessary legitimacy and support in seeking to articulate the interests of various segments of the disaster reduction community at the national level with a view to ensuring effective disaster reduction policies.
  • serve as an effective instrument for promoting the cause of disaster reduction at international level based on their individual experience and in cooperation with the UN Secretariat for the ISDR and UN agencies such as UNDP and others.

3. Principles

In order to ensure efficient and effective cooperation, disaster reduction should be approached:

  • As a global issue within the context of sustainable development
  • With priority given to education and public awareness
  • In a multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral manner
  • With the logic of subsidiarity (acting at the most appropriate level, bearing in mind that national platforms have a major responsibility for ensuring the implementation of disaster reduction measures at the country level)
  • In a concerted and coordinated manner with regard to policy, planning and decision-making.

4. Incentives

Strengthening the cooperation between ISDR national platforms and the Secretariat for the ISDR should be an ongoing process building on:

• exchange of information supported by: communication technology (internet),

- conferences, seminars, workshops at national, regional and international level
- publications
- networking

• policy coherence supported by: sharing of information on activities being carried out

- common understanding of concepts
- transparency in the decision-making process
- common objectives
- adoption of integrated policies

• partnerships according to regional or thematic consideration promoted by:

- bilateral cooperation among entities with different comparative advantages
- regional and sub-regional cooperation
- multisectoral cooperation
- twinnings (horizontal cooperation)

• financial resources generated by:

- increased awareness on the need to support financially disaster reduction activities
- better allocation of funds between disaster relief and disaster reduction projects
- private sector sponsorship.

For more infromation, please contact:
Marianne Muller: ó
Elina Palm:

The Role of the ISDR Secretariat

To facilitate its cooperation with ISDR national platforms and promote networking, the Secretariat for the ISDR is developing its clearing-house function and carries the following activities:

• Gradually strengthening the reference unit of the Secretariat into a Resource Center on Disaster Reduction

• Developing databases on, inter alia, experts and relevant contacts interested in ISDR activities

- regional and international organizations and centers,
- projects,
- technical literature, and
- country profiles
These databases will be posted on the ISDR Website upon completion.

• Disseminating up-to-date information, including through an expanded website capacity, on : activities carried out by national platforms

- regional, interregional and international meetings, seminars and other events on disaster reduction
- subjects such as environment and development, where the relevance of disaster reduction should be reflected
- scientific and technological findings in the field of disaster reduction

• Gathering information from national platforms for specific activities such as the preparation of the biennial Global Report on Disaster Reduction

• Drawing attention of the media on activities of national platforms

• Convening regional and/or thematic meetings of representatives of national platforms

• Providing assistance in the preparation of national and regional disaster prevention or mitigation plans, and legislation

• Assisting national platforms to expand their access to and use of the Internet.

In order to ensure a better coverage, the Secretariat for the ISDR is also in the process of decentralizing some of its activities with a strong regional perspective, which requires close cooperation with existing regional and sub-regional mechanisms as well as national platforms. This undertaking has been prompted by the success of the Latin America and the Caribbean outpost already put in place during the IDNDR. Discussions are underway for similar arrangements to be developed in Africa, Asia and the Pacific regions.