|IDNDR - Informs - Number 03, October - December 1993 (IDNDR-DIRDN, 1993)|
Results from 1991 PAHO studies on the composition of IDNDR National Committees are not very encouraging in terms of the integration of Planning Authorities in the Committees.
Surveys from 19 Latin American countries identified at that time only 12 in which national planning ministries participated in the IDNDR National Committees (this number is probably even smaller now), and two countries where no Committee existed at all.
Since the focus is on actions taken to prevent disasters, the economical and physical planning sectors have a very important role to play. We know that risk reduction is possible. A thorough knowledge of hazards and risks in these institutions is one important factor in decisions taken about allocating resources.
There are many cases of successful regulation of land use, management of water and forest resources, improvement of and compliance with construction codes, and reinforcement of infrastructure and basic services in communities. These measures were taken by people who realized that in large urban populations, structural improvements are worthwhile even though they entail the higher costs. Active participation from the community, through local organizations and contributions from private enterprise, will help convince governments to take measures.
This is hard work. We face scarce resources; short-term results are often hard to see, and many politicians and professionals resist disaster planning as a consistent alternative. Our goal should be to involve all planning authorities in National Disaster Management Committees.