PADF and OAS Expand Cooperation to Reduce the Threat and Impact of Natural Disasters in LAC region

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 5, 2014) – A new agreement between the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and the Organization of American States (OAS) will expand cooperation between the two entities on disaster risk reduction issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, focusing on vulnerability reduction, community resilience, and disaster prevention and mitigation.

The agreement, signed at OAS headquarters in Washington DC, seeks to capitalize on and optimize the strengths and capabilities of PADF in disaster risk reduction and resource mobilization from private enterprise, civil society, community-based groups and diaspora associations, as well as the OAS’ expertise in disaster risk reduction, within a broader approach to sustainable development. Existing collaboration in disaster relief, recovery and reconstruction will continue.

Under this agreement PADF and the OAS will work jointly to:

  • Promote community-centered and local government-driven solutions to disaster risk reduction;
  • Facilitate stronger and more coordinated involvement of civil society, community-based, private sector and diaspora members in disaster responses;
  • Strengthen democratic institutions, public participation processes, and public-private partnerships; and
  • Promote policy reforms in public and private institutions and civil society organizations for the long-term sustainability of disaster risk reduction solutions

During the signing ceremony, Secretary General of the OAS José Miguel Insulzastated that “today the scenario has changed, and it is characterized by the increase in the number and magnitude of the disasters and the effects of climate change, whose impact is very severe in some parts of the region." He added that PADF "is the best tool we have for disaster relief."

“This new scenario demands a shift in our approaches and strategies, from reactive to proactive, from post-disaster to ex-ante action, increasing investments in disaster prevention and mitigation, and implementing development policies and plans that integrate risk assessments into land use and physical planning, while fostering the active participation of all segments of the society,” he said.

Because of population, economic growth and rapid urbanization in the region, he added, disasters have increased the economic losses and the number of people affected, as well as disrupted business operations, increased pressure on national fiscal accounts, and caused further environmental degradation.

In highlighting the long history of cooperation between the two organizations, John Sanbrailo, PADF Executive Director, said that for more than 50 years “[PADF and the OAS] have worked in a coordinated manner in various initiatives; from the beginning we have had a very important role in the field of response to natural disasters. This agreement is a continuation of that effort."

Mr. Sanbrailo expressed his thanks for the support that Secretary General Insulza and Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin have given to the work of the Foundation and recalled concerted efforts in recent years to activate and mobilize resources in Haiti. "We will continue to expand the work we do for development in the Caribbean and South and Central America," he said.