Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin inaugurated the “Workshop on the Inter-American System for Natural Disaster Mitigation” stressing the importance of making the Inter-American system work better through efficient coordination, in order that the OAS can respond more adequately to the needs of member states in the area of natural disaster reduction.
The workshop, which was attended by Permanent Representatives of the OAS Members States, Permanent Observers, representatives from the Inter-American Defense Board, OAS Department of Sustainable Development (DSD), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) discussed economic development in the hemisphere and analyzed the current instruments of the Inter-American system for disaster mitigation, collective response capacity, and the impact of natural disasters on the peoples of the Americas. The Chair of the Permanent Council, Ambassador Osmar Chohfi of Brazil, and the Chair of the Hemispheric Security Committee, Ambassador Gustavo Albin of Mexico, stressed the importance of the workshop in promoting a more effective functioning of the hemispheric mechanisms.
Highlighting the significance and relevance of the meeting, Ambassador Ramdin alluded to the increasing incidence and impact of natural disasters on the region. “Last year, there were more than 1,000 deaths resulting from natural disasters. The total figure in material losses exceeded US$50 billion which had an enormous impact on the affected economies.” Ramdin also commented that the impact of natural disasters is not limited to any particular sub-region, but affects the Americas in the form of hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding, and landslides among others.
Assistant Secretary General Ramdin stressed the importance of strengthening the IACNDR, which brings together organisms and agencies of the Inter-American System to contribute to the mitigation of natural disasters.