Conference OAS Mechanisms for Disaster Relief, Response and Management

Date: 11-12 May 2016


  • 11 May 2016:Ruben Dario room of the General Services Building of the OAS, 1889 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
  • 12 May 2016:Casa del Soldado, Inter-American Defense Board, 2600 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20441

The event was convened within the framework of the Inter-American Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction (IACNDR) chaired by the Secretary General of the OAS, and whose ultimate goal is to coordinate the work of the agencies of the inter-American System and to advance a common strategic thinking in the Americas. In addition to the Secretary General of the OAS, membership of the Committee is completed with the Chair of the Permanent Council, the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the Director General of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Secretary General of the Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH), the President of the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Director General of the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD), the Chair of the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), and the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM). The Secretary General may invite the State Members, Permanent Observers and representatives of national organizations, and Subregional –such as CDEMA, ACS, CAPRADE and CEPREDENAC, regional and international organizations and mechanisms, such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the White Helmets Commission of Argentina, among others.

The objective of the first day, under the sponsorship of the General Secretariat of the OAS, through its Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) and the Department of Sustainable Development (SEDI/DSD), was to analyze the performance of the subregional mechanisms in the context of the Inter-American System and the mechanisms of the OAS, taking into account the most recent events in two subregions of the Americas: (i) the Andean region, and (ii) the Greater Caribbean. In the first case, the performance of the mechanisms in the Pedernales Earthquake, in Ecuador, on April, 16th last was discussed. In the second case, the performance of the mechanisms in selected recent events, where CDEMA and ACS have activated subregional mechanisms, was analyzed.

The first day's session also sought to identify gaps, challenges and opportunities that the mechanisms of the Inter-American System hosted at the OAS offer to enhance coordination in the Americas, whether the humanitarian assistance comes from countries within the hemisphere or from countries outside the region, as well as that of cooperation agencies’. To that end, the mechanisms were presented by a panel of experts.

The second day, under the sponsorship of the IADB, in its capacity as of full member of IACNDR, was focused on addressing the relationship between regional and subregional intergovernmental bodies with the Armed Forces and National Security Forces and with the conferences that bring them together, identifying possible improvements in coordination to enhance logistical support of military structures to disaster relief, response and management agencies.

Conference OAS_IADB

Photo: Mr. Guillermo Pacheco, Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies; Mr. Michael Marx, Senior Civil-Military Coordination Advisor, OCHA; Mr. Pablo Gonzalez, Principal Specialist for Risk Management, OAS and Dr. Leonardo Hernández, Coordinator Emergency Operations Center Department of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief, PAHO