Summit of the Americas

The Summit of the Americas, starting in Miami in 1994, provide for specific mandates in natural disaster mitigation.  From the early summits, OAS member states stressed the need to move towards a vulnerability-reduction, risk-management, and prevention approach, as opposed to the emergency response and relief. Emphasis was placed on building local capacity, supporting risk assessment and awareness-raising, and creating more resilient local communities –from building more resilient infrastructure to integrate natural disaster risk considerations in land-use planning, and addressing the aftermath of natural disasters, particularly, related to job losses and decreases in income and production. Climate variability and the impact of more frequent and more intense climate-origin extreme events, such as droughts and flooding, were well recognized by member states throughout the Summit Process. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon, and climate change scenarios and early evidences were also emphasized and repeatedly brought up at these Summits. 

At the First Summit, in 1994, the OAS approved the Argentine “White Helmets[OAS1] ” initiative, a humanitarian assistance group of volunteers that assist with disaster relief and mitigation.  RISK-MACC supports the implementation of the White Helmets initiative, not only by providing technical and administrative support, but also by facilitating collaboration of international organizations, such as the UN World Fund Program[OAS2] . It further plans to complement its efforts through “community-based organization and risk management” programs and projects. 

The Action Plan that emerged from the Second Summit, in Santiago de Chile, in 1998, included mandates aimed at developing shared comprehensive disaster management strategies and programs to reduce the vulnerability of populations and economies to natural disasters. Among other priorities, the Action Plan called for the establishment of information networks for the exchange of scientific and technological knowledge and experiences; the use of Early Warning Systems (EWS), applying remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) based data to assess risk, prevent, plan and prepare for natural hazard emergencies. The valuable findings presented in the forum necessitated, further networking and climate research in order to prevent natural disasters.  The Member States pledged to apply mechanisms of science and technology in order to mitigate the damages caused by the effects of El Niño and other climate phenomena. Three years later, in Quebec City, at the Third Summit, discussion of the environment and natural hazards included disaster management and a vulnerability assessment of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The Action Plan of Quebec City stressed the need to develop capacity to forecast, prepare for and mitigate the potential impacts of natural hazards; promote vulnerability reduction; adopt and enforce building codes and standards to increase resilience of physical infrastructure; use land-use planning and practices that take into account risk and vulnerability; and establish cooperative mechanisms to access and share advances in science and technology for their application in EWS, preparedness and mitigation of natural disasters. The Plan of Action also recognizes the need to estimate climate change and climate variability, and its impacts, including sea-level rise.

In 2004, at the Special Summit, in Monterrey, delegates of the member states agreed to increase cooperation for coordinating and implementing measures to reduce the impact of natural disasters on people and their effect on national development plans, bearing emphasis in prevention, mitigation and risk management at all levels.

The Fourth Summit, in Mar del Plata, in 2005, resulted in a Plan of Action that further advances the ideas and principles of risk management and natural disaster prevention. It introduces the need to explore the development, in collaboration with relevant international and regional organizations, of effective public-private catastrophic risk insurance system. Under the general theme of the Summit, “Creating jobs to Fight Poverty and Strengthen Democratic Governance,” the member states called for the development and strengthening of policies to increase opportunities for job with principles of equity across genders and generations, eradicating discrimination against women, forms of child labor, and other forms of forced labor and inequities.

RISK-MACC integrates good governance, strengthening of democracies, and increasing job and income opportunities, as an integral goal to reduce the risk posed by natural hazards.

 [OAS1]Include a hyper link to the Initiative Web page

 [OAS2]Include a hyper link to the UN WFP





This page was last updated on Wednesday September 29, 2010.