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Brief Overview surrounding DRR in Colombia - Update as of January 2013

National HFA/UNISDR Focal Point: Unidad Nacional de Gestión del Riesgo

National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction: YES - National System for Disaster Risk Management declared to UNISDR

National Legislation:

Law 1523 of April 24, 2012 defines the National Policy on Disaster Risk Management and a National System for Disaster Risk Management explicitly recognized as a part of the development process. Decree 4147 of November 3, 2011, created a national unit for the coordination of a national disaster risk management system. Decree 3700 of the National Council for Economic and Social Policy (CONPES) for Climate Change established a model disaster response system.

Of interest: National consultation of 30 January, 2013

On 30 January 2013 directors and advisors in the field of Disaster Risk Management met in the nation’s capital city of Bogota to identify strategic actions surrounding the future of Disaster Risk Management in Colombia and the country’s position surrounding a post-2015 Hyogo Framework for Action agenda.

The Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters, HFA, is a ten-year plan of action designed to make the world safer from natural hazards, and was adopted in 2005 by the UN General Assembly. It is the single most important instrument for guiding Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) by member States of the United Nations.

The HFA’s overall objective is to increase the resilience of nations and communities to disasters in order to achieve a significant reduction of losses caused by disasters, both in terms of lives and in terms of the social, economic and environmental assets of communities and countries. The HFA offers five priority areas of action along with guiding principles and practical ways to increase the resilience of communities vulnerable to disasters, in the context of sustainable development.

According to Ricardo Mena, Head of the Regional Office for the Americas of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Colombia has made remarkable progress in establishing a strong institutional and legal framework for DRR and has been seen as an example to be followed on this subject in the region. A new and forward-looking legislation for disaster risk management was enacted in 2012 just a year after the country was affected by record precipitations that caused extensive flooding and staggering economic, human and environmental losses. This new legislation prioritizes prospective and corrective risk management over the traditional reactive model.

This event served to review some of the nation’s recent experiences as a means of looking towards the future. In this way, this meeting contributes to the global consultations taking place surrounding the post-2015 mechanism also commonly known as the HFA2 and the resulting document of this national consultation will be presented to the fourth session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction: "Invest today for a Safer Tomorrow", to be held from May 19th to the 23rd in Geneva, Switzerland.

This event, which took place in the Hotel Estelar in Bogota, marks the country’s significant contribution to this global process, with high-level panelists from a variety of sectors. They include Carlos Iván Márquez Pérez, National Director of Disaster Risk Management; Luz Amanda Pulido, Advisor to the National Council for Regions and Citizens Participation of the Presidency of the Republic; Omar Agudelo, Director of the Center for Emergency Prevention; Diana Rubiano, specialist in Disaster Risk Management for the World Bank; Camilo Cárdenas, Civil Engineer and Consultant in Disaster Risk Management; Omar Dario Cardona Arboleda, Senior Consultant in Disaster Risk Management and Professor of Environmental Studies at the National University of Colombia; Gustavo Wilches-Chaux, author and consultant on Disaster Risk Management.


The Panel of Experts on "The Future of Disaster Risk Management" focused on issues such as education, disaster risk reduction and understanding of risk management.

Luz Amanda Pulido,ex-Director of Risk Management and current advisor to the Presidency's National Council for Citizen Participation expressed that Colombians are advancing in terms pf preparedness and moving forward in terms of mechanisms for insurance and reinsurance.

Omar Agudelo, Director of the National University's Emergency Preparedness Centre recalled the damages at the municipal level generated by the lack of knowledge surrounding DRR and DRM, citing the example of Tumaco (Nariño) as an island facing the negative effects of overpopulation.

Diana Rubiano, Risk Management Specialist with the World Bank provided some insight surrounding what is being done in terms of Risk Management and several strategic aspects to reinforce.

Gustavo Wilches-Chaux,Disaster Risk Management consultant and author, brought to mind the importance of recognizing the territorial landscape as a living being that responds in protest when not considered within the decision-making process, mentioning priorities for development in Colombia that include water, climatological resilience, food security, national identity and values.

Such conclusions will serve to guide a roadmap for establishing thematic areas of focus surrounding Risk Management in Colombia.

The National Director of Disaster Risk Management, Carlos Iván Márquez Pérez, thanked the panelists and participants in this event with a reminder that Risk Management is everybody's business and highlighting the importance of Law 1523 of 2012 which provides tools for advancing in DRM and DRR.

  • DRR Index:
WDI: 3.75/5
DRI Class: 4/7
Note: The WDI Disaster Risk Reduction progress score is an average of self-assessment scores, ranging from 1 to 5, submitted by countries under Priority 1 of the Hyogo Framework National Progress Reports (1-5 scale; 5=best). The Disaster Risk Index is a mortality-based index developed in order to enable comparisons of countries hit by different hazard types (7 classes; 7=high mortality).

Income Group: Upper-Middle

Population: 46,9 million

GDP: US$7,067/capita

Poverty: 37% of population

Urban Population: 75% of total

Climate Change and Disaster Risk Profile:

Colombia is exposed and vulnerable to floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and occasional Atlantic hurricanes. Over the last 40 years, 190,000 houses have been destroyed by natural disasters and 1 million persons have been affected. The associated cost has been estimated at some US$2.04 billion.

The impact of the 2010–2011 La Niña rainy seasons reflects the complexity of hazard risk in Colombia and the gaps and deficiencies of disaster risk management in the country. Recent flooding affected approximately 3.5 million persons and resulted in unprecedented damages and losses, underlining the need to strengthen the national system for a more efficient management of disaster risks.

The World Bank undertook a preliminary disaster risk management analysis for Colombia. The study shows that a radical change in development policies and in territorial and sectoral disaster risk management practices is essential if Colombia wants to sustain its economic growth. The recommendations in this report are being used for policy decisions. The Government will include information on exposed public infrastructure and buildings, and information on historical disaster losses.

The Government of Colombia recognizes that disasters triggered by natural phenomena are an implicit contingent liability of the State. The management of fiscal risk emanating from natural disasters is being addressed by (i) the fiscal risk management strategy; (ii) the National Disaster Risk Management Act of April 2012 (Law 1523); and (iii) the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit’s efforts on debt sustainability.

Source: GFDRR, October 2012 - Colombia Country Update, October 2012

HFA National Reports

National HFA Progress Monitor Report 2011-2013: Preliminary report submitted in 2012

National HFA Progress Report 2009-2011: Submitted and published

National HFA Progress Report 2007-2009: Submitted and published

National Report 2007: National Report on the Implementation of the HFA (2007) - Colombia (Spanish)

National Report 2006: no reported

National Report 2005: no reported

National Platform

The National Platform is composed by:

- Ministry of the Interior and Justice.

- Colombian Civil Defense.

- Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

- National Planning Department.

National Platform Focal Point:

Ministerio del Interior y de Justicia, Dirección de Prevención y Atención de Desastres

Calle 13, N.32-69, Edificio Laboratorio

Piso 4, Bogotá, Colombia

Tel:+ 571-375-0934/0842


Contact Person:

Sra. Luz Amanda Pulido (Director of the DPAD)

Alternative e-mail:

Colombia: Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction at the Local Level

Good practices of National Platforms 2008 - Case Study: Colombia

Sistema Nacional de Prevención y Atención de Desastres (SNPAD) / Dirección de Prevención y Atención de Desastres (DPAD)


HFA National Focal Point

Unidad Nacional para la Gestión del Riesgo de Desastres (UNGRD)

Address: Calle 13 No. 32-69. Edificio Laboratorio Piso 4. (Secretaria de Salud) Bogotá D.C., República de Colombia.

Tel: (+57-1) 375-0842/375-1078/375-0934 / Fax: (+57-1) 375-1077



Contact person:

Carlos Iván Márquez Pérez, Director


Alternative / Technical Contact:

Jairo Bárcenas, Subdirector de Reducción del Riesgo


Tel: (57-1) 3751078 ext 102; Fax: (57-1) 3751077

Other contacts

Permanent Mission of Colombia to the United Nations Office and Specialized Institutions in Geneva


Her Excellency Mrs. Clemencia Forero Ucros


Permanent Representative

Address: Chemin du Champ-d’Anier 17-19, 1209 Geneva

Tel: +(41-22) 798-4554, Fax: +(41-22) 791-0787


UN System Coordination

UNDG: UNCT Colombia

UN Resident Coordinator

Mr. Bruno Moro

UN Resident Coordinator / Resident Representative UNDP

Address: Avenida 82 No. 10-62, 3rd and 4th floor, P.O. Box 091369, Bogota

Tel: 00(571) 488-9000, Fax: 00(571) 488-9010

E-mail:, []


UN Inter-Agency Support

Mr. Juan Ignacio Arango, RC Assistant

Tel: +(571) 488-9000 ext. 137


Ms. Yasmina Garzón, Secretary

Tel: +(571) 488-9000 ext. 125


UN Country Team

Mr. Bruno Moro: UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP

Ms. Olga Lucía Acosta: Regional Advisor Bogotá Office, ECLAC

Mr. Luis Manuel Castello: Representative, FAO

Mr. Roberto Haudry de Soucy: Representative, IFAD

Mr. Marcelo Castro-Fox: Representative, ILO

Mr. José Angel Oropeza: Chief of Mission, IOM

Mr. Raúl Rosende: Chief of Office, OCHA

Ms. Claudia Hoshino: Coordinator, L. A. Office, UNCRD

Ms. Barbara Pesce-Monteiro: Country Director, UNDP

Mr. Omar Castiglioni: Chief Security Adviser, UNDSS

Mr. Firmin Edouard Matoko: Representative for Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, UNESCO

Mr. Diego Palacios: Representative, UNFPA

Mr. Javier Hernández: Representative, i.a., UNHCHR

Mr. Jean-Nöel Wetterwald: Representative, UNHCR

Mr. Damian Cardona: Director for Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, UNIC

Mr. Paul Martin: Representative Area Office of Colombia and Venezuela, UNICEF

Mr. Antonio Assefh: Representative, UNIDO

Ms. Moni Pizani: Programme Regional Director, UNIFEM

Mr. Aldo Lale-Demoz: Representative, UNODC

Mr. Praveen Agrawal: Representative, WFP

Dr. Pier Paolo Balladelli: Representative, WHO/PAHO

Ms. Béatrice Dhaynaut: Strategic Planning Advisor, Office of the RC

Mr. Juan Ignacio Arango: Coordination Support, Office of the RC

Ms. Yasmina Garzón: Coordination Support, Office of the RC

Updated: 21 May, 2008; UNDG: UNCT Colombia


Colombian Civil Defense (Prevention and Attention to Disasters)

Address: Bogota D.C. No. 52 street. 14-67, P.O. BOX. 6400090

Phone: (+57-1) 6917071/72 / Emergency 144 / Fax.(+57-1) 6916870 to 6408081



Contact Person: Gral. Alfonso Arteaga, Director


Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation Office

Address: Calle 10. 5-51 Bogota DC

Phone: (+57-1) 566 7103 / Fax: (+57-1) 562 5939


Dra. Juana García Uribe, Director of International Cooperation

E-mail: /

National Planning Department, Department of Urban Development and Environment Policy

Address: Calle 26 Number 13-19, floor 8, Building Fonade, Bogota DC

Phone: (+57-1) 596 0300 ext. 2572 to 2550 / Fax: (+57-1) 599 9557 - 596 0314


Contact person: Dr. Julio Miguel Silva Salamanca, Director of Urban Development and Environmental Policy

E-mail: /

Colombian Red Cross

Website: Colombian Red Cross

Climate change


(2007)(Source: Matrix Final - based on national progress report for the Global Platform)

HFA P1 - Institutional and legal framework:

Incorporation of DRR concept and DRR strategic actions into the national development plan, as well as in sectorial plans

HFA P2 - Risk identification and EWS:

Risk assessment and strengthening of early warning system

HFA P3 - Knowledge and education:

Incorporation of DRR concept into environmental education

HFA P4 - Risk applications:

Strengthening of the environmental local management

HFA P5 - Preparedness and response:

Reduction of the fiscal vulnerability: loan mechanism through Multilateral Bank

Country Profile:

Official name: Republic of Colombia

Capital: Bogotá

Population: 43.5 million

Density: 38.2 people per sq km

Total area: 1,138,910 sq km

Languages: Spanish*, Indian languages, English Creole

Government: Presidential democracy

Religions: Roman Catholic 90%, others 10%

Ethnic groups: mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1%

Currency: Colombian peso

Geographical Description (hazards and disasters)

Colombia is located in an area of geological complexity high, and this explains the frequent occurrence of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis, or tidal waves. The earthquakes are the main natural hazard for the country, and that nearly 86% of the population is located in areas of medium and high level of seismic hazard, as well as the vulnerability of urban settlements is high and with a tendency to grow. Moreover, the topographic conditions, climate and hydrology of the country make it prone to the impact of phenomena of erosion, landslides, avalanches and hydrometeorological threats such as rising torrential overflows, floods, hurricanes and storms. For example, El Niño, the recurrence rate and its associated climate changes, generates strong droughts and floods. The environmental and socioeconomic impacts associated with this phenomenon can have characteristics of a disaster. According to CAF, the damage to Colombia caused by El Niño between 1997 y1998 amounted to 564 million dollars. Additionally, there are forest fires in the country, technological accidents such as oil spills and leaks of hazardous chemicals and other man in accidentally. These events have led not only to loss of a significant number of lives, but have also harmed the development of the entire country and helped decrease in the reduction of poverty. In Colombia were affected more than four million people by natural disasters in the period between 1993 and 2000 (the most by floods and earthquakes).

Institutional Level

Colombia was a pioneer in the region in the implementation of a systematic approach to the integrated management of disaster risk after the eruption and mud avalanche of Nevado del Ruiz in 1985. The National System for Disaster Prevention and Attention (SNPAD) has been developed and strengthened since then. They also account for some years with laws that provide risk prevention through an institutional framework for such purposes.

Here are some of the most important general rules of the National System for Disaster Prevention and Attention: -Decree 1547 of 1984: that created by the National Fund for Calamities such as financial tool in prevention, care and rehabilitation of emergencies and disasters in the country. -Act 46 of 1988: created the National System for Disaster Prevention and Attention. -Decree Law 919 of 1989: organized for the National System for Disaster Prevention and Response, which in turn established the National Office for the Prevention and Attention to Disasters (currently Directorate for Disaster Prevention and Response) would develop a National Plan for Prevention and Attention to Disasters. -Act 99 of 1993 which was organized by the National Environmental System. -Act 322 of 1996: which is created by the National Fire Department of Colombia. -Decree 93 of 1998: by adopting the National Plan for the Prevention and Attention to Disasters, which mandated goals as risk reduction and disaster prevention, effective response in the event of a disaster and the rapid recovery of affected areas . Moreover, identified as general strategies knowledge about risks of natural and anthropogenic origin, incorporating the prevention and reduction of risk in planning, strengthening the institutional development and socialization of the disaster prevention and mitigation.

Colombia has usually extensive regulation in subjects related to risk management, which covers issues such as housing, infrastructure, community participation, among others. On the other hand, there are specific contingency plans originated in a prior assessment of threats and vulnerabilities, whose purpose is to counteract the end or mitigate the effects of potential disasters. The country has a unit that is responsible for coordinating the actions of the National System for Disaster Prevention and Assistance, which is the Director for Disaster Prevention and Response, structurally dependent on the Ministry of Interior and Justice.

The National Planning Department is another institution which planned the actions that the different levels of government must advance to meet the protection of the population in economic, political and social.

Colombia advances in the design and financing of a strategy to define a policy on higher education in risk prevention. Through the SNPAD, has promoted the creation of a National Commission on Education in Disaster Prevention, which aims to define a national policy. Some universities offer master's or postgraduate courses in risk management, such as the University of Antioquia in Colombia, with its collaborating centre of PAHO/WHOat the School of Public Health, and a master's degree in social sciences and risk management. The Valley University in Bogota also has a comprehensive graduate program in risk management

Source: UN/ISDR The Americas.

Others Documents:

National Plans of Risk Management, Colombia

Incorporation of prevention and risk reduction in the process of territorial planning, Colombia

Systematizing Institutional, Legal and Technical Aspects of Risk Management in Colombia; December 2006 (Spanish only)

(Sistematizacion Aspectos Institucionales, Legales y Técnicos de la Gestion de Riesgos en Colombia)

Bogotá, Colombia - Disaster Risk Management Profile (Last Update: July 2006)

Web Links

PreventionWeb Country Profile - Natural Disaster, Data and Statistcs Colombia

EM-DAT Country Profile - Natural Disaster - Colombia

ReliefWeb Countries and Emergencies Colombia

UN/ISDR UNEP/DEWA/GRID-Europe Hazards Profile Colombia

Proyecto de Apoyo a la Prevención de Desastres en la CAN (PREDECAN)

Official Website of the Colombian Government

Colombia's National Climate Change Website (Spanish - Ministry of Environment)

Geographic Institute Agustin Codazzi, Colombia

Geographic Module SIGPAD

Colombian Institute of Geology and Mining (INGEOMINAS)

Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (Ideam)

MDG Profile: Colombia

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