Risk Management and Adaptation to Climate Change

Development in the Americas has always progressed alongside threats posed by intensive natural disasters, from earthquakes to hurricanes. However, disaster risk is on the rise due to human factors: environmental degradation, worsening socio- economic conditions and social inequity. Climate change further threatens development, by exacerbating risks from more intense and frequent hydro-meteorological events.

The Department of Sustainable Development (OAS/DSD), through its Risk Management and Adaptation to Climate Change section (RISK-MACC), supports the priorities of OAS Member States in adapting to and managing the increasing risks associated with natural disasters. The ultimate goal is to mainstream Risk Management –or deconstruct risk – into development policy and planning across all sectors and government levels, by building on work underway at the regional and international levels, and by taking into account the changing priority needs of Member States and relevant OAS mandates received from the highest-policy making bodies in the Americas.

Key Work Areas

Towards Risk Reduction

The hemisphere is making significant progress in moving from disaster response and assistance towards risk reduction. The Inter-American Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction (IACNDR) represents a crucial milestone in this step by providing strategic thinking and recommendations on initiatives, with a special focus on policies and programs designed to reduce vulnerability in Member States and aid them in investing in increased resilience of their environmental, social and economic assets. More...

Democratic Institutions

Good governance, including public participation and involvement, transparency and accountability, is key to reducing risk. Active and responsible public participation results in self-awareness and sound risk assessment, while fostering transparency and accountability in the administration of emergency assistance, leading to more resilient and prepared communities. Capacity building and institutional strengthening particularly at the local government and organized civil society group level is also crucial, as these are the first to respond in a disaster and are in the best position to work with communities. RISK-MACC integrates such key objectives for risk reduction with fundamental OAS goals emerging from the OAS Charter and OAS Democratic Charter in its work: good governance, poverty alleviation, job and income opportunities, and the strengthening of democracy.

Partnering with the UN/ISDR Secretariat

As part of its dual approach to risk reduction, RISK-MACC is partnering with the Secretariat of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) and its Regional Office, UN/ISDR Americas, to mutually support and coordinate the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the IACNDR Inter-American Strategic Plan for Policy on Vulnerability Reduction, Risk Management and Disaster Response (IACNRD/IASP). RISK-MACC also advances bottom-up initiatives supporting efforts to increase community resilience and reduce vulnerability.

Inter-American Network for Disaster Mitigation (INDM)

INDM offers a unique opportunity to support IACNDR decisions and advance practical collaboration between Member States and intergovernmental agencies in matters of risk reduction. It is the permanent hemispheric mechanism for strengthening practical cooperation – pursuant to OAS AG/RES 2314 adopted at the 2007 ordinary meeting of the General Assembly in Panama – in the integration of disaster risk reduction across all sectors, government levels and segments of the civil society, into the so-called National Platforms for Disaster Risk. INDM can also offer unique value in becoming the operational branch of the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas. In this context, INDM seeks to develop a single ‘IASP-HFA Monitoring and Reporting System’, on the basis of the ‘HFA Monitor’, which was designed and coordinated by the UN/ISDR Secretariat as an-online tool to monitor, review and report on progress and challenges in the implementation of disaster risk reduction and recovery actions at the national level in accordance with HFA priorities. More...

Our Mission

The objective of RISK-MACC Section is to support the priorities of the OAS Member States in adapting to and managing the risk associated to natural hazards by providing them with technical and policy recommendations related to Natural Hazard Risk Management with the purpose of mainstreaming Risk Management into development policy and planning. More...
  1. Mandates and Directives
  2. Scope and Levels of Intervention
  3. Programmatic Approach
  4. Building from Experience
What's New:

Call for the identification and systematization of relevant experiences on risk reduction in the Americas: An opportunity to show progress along the way towards a sustainable, inclusive and safe development l Find all information at the UNISDR Website l Online Form

LG-SAT: La nueva herramienta de la UNISDR que permite a gobiernos locales autoevaluar sus avances en la reducción del riesgo de desastres y los objetivos del Marco de Acción de Hyogo

► El Premio “Ciudades Resilientes 2012”

► October 29-31, 2012
Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas.

Past Events:

March 15 - 17, 2011. Nuevo Vallarta, México. Second Session of the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas. More...

April 14-16, 2010 The II Hemispheric Encounter on National Mechanisms and Networks for Disaster Risk Reduction: “Encounter of Santa Marta: From Theory to Practice” More...

March 10, 2010 Experts Round Table: Community-centered Flood Early Warning Systems (EWS): The Central American Experience More...

February 18, 2010 Meeting of the Joint Working Group of the Permanent Council and CEPCIDI on Existing Mechanisms for Disaster Prevention and Response and Humanitarian Assistance More...

February 1, 2010 Meeting of the Group of Friends of Haiti More..

January 19, 2010 Meeting of the Group of Friends of Haiti More...

December 14, 2009 Meeting of the Joint Working Group of the Permanent Council and CEPCIDI on Existing Mechanisms for Disaster Prevention and Response and Humanitarian Assistance More...

November 30, 2009 Presentation at the Inter-American Defense College

November 23-24, 2009 Mission to Guatemala to participate in the Regional Workshop on Flood EWS and the second meeting of the Project’s Steering Committee in representation of SEDI/DSD

November 2009 Mission to El Salvador following Hurricane Ida

March 17, 2009 International Experts and Authorities met in Panama to discuss Disaster Risk Reduction and Development More...

February 18-19, 2009 First Regional Workshop for the Validation of a Preliminary “online” Inventory of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) applied to Natural Disaster Mitigation in Managua, Nicaragua More...

January 28, 2009 Experts from inter-governmental organizations of the Inter-American and UN Systems meet to discuss preparations for the 1st Session of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) Regional Platform of the Americas More...

January 27, 2009 The DSD participated in the panel of the event “Migration and Disasters Situations” organized by the Committee on Migration Issues of the OAS Permanent Council More...

April 23-24, 2007 OAS-IFRC Americas Forum on International Disaster Response, Laws, Rules and Principles held in Panama More...

Useful Documents:

Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction - 2009

Implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action in the Americas – June 2009

Cooperation Agreement between the OAS and the UNISDR – December 2007

Natural Disaster Reduction, Risk Management, and Assistance in Natural and other Disaster Situations Draft Resolution – May 2007

Law of Disasters: Towards a Normative Framework in the Americas – April 2007

Report of the Americas Forum on International Disaster Response Laws, Rules and Principles (IDLR) – April 2007

Hyogo Framework for Action 2005 - 2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters



Pablo González
Chief, Natural Hazard Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation Section, and Coordinator for Central America (INDM co-Chair)

►Rosa Trejo
Specialist, Natural Hazard Risk Reduction