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Central America will strengthen capacity to reduce flood and drought disaster risk with support from EUROCLIMA+

Central America will strengthen capacity to reduce flood and drought disaster risk with support from EUROCLIMA+

-Salvador Nieto, Executive Secretary of the CCAD.

With support from the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management component of the European Union’s EUROCLIMA+ Programme, the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD), the environmental agency of the Central American Integration System (SICA), will lead the execution of the Project “Increasing Capacity for Flood and Drought Disaster Risk Reduction and Promotion of Resilience in Central America” starting in February 2019.

In an interview with Salvador Nieto, we obtained the following summary:

1.What are the objectives of this Project?

The project aims to adopt measures to analyse and mitigate disaster risk; improve the production of hydrometeorological data; and exchange lessons learned and experiences on disaster risk management and reduction (DRMR). It is noteworthy that the project is aligned with the priorities and work areas established in the policy and strategy documents in force at the regional level of SICA: a) Regional Strategy on Climate Change (RSCC), and b) Central American Policy on Comprehensive Risk Management (CAPCRM).

2.In addition to the CCAD, are there other executing entities?

Yes, we have two other specialised entities in SICA that are the Coordination Centre for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America (CEPREDENAC) and the Regional Committee for Water Resources (CRRH)- together with the Central American Global Water Partnership (GWP). The three will have co-executor functions for the project. In addition, there are country counterparts that will be the ministries of the environment, national civil protection commissions, and national meteorology and water resource agencies.

3.How is the planned work to be carried out?

The project has two major components: the first, to generate specialised information about flood and drought levels to strengthen decision-making. To this end, we will work on the collection and integration of data in the field that feed early warning systems (local and national); that allows the development of better adjusted risk management plans; and that enable the development of policies and strategies at national and regional levels based on territorial reality.

In the second component, case studies, systematisations, and training will be conducted, all of which will make it possible to disseminate the progress made regarding the impacts of droughts and floods, and therefore improve the capacities installed at the level of participating institutions.

Regarding the expected results, in summary, the project is structured around three outcomes:

  1. Governance instruments for risk management and increased resilience to floods and droughts created and improved;
  2. Technical capabilities expanded to deal with emergencies caused by drought and flood phenomena in a comprehensive and inclusive manner; and
  3. New information generated and training developed for the knowledge and management of drought and flood disaster risks.

The following are expected to be the main products:

  1. A virtual meteorology centre.
  2. National policies on drought in three SICA countries.
  3. Six national protocols for communication and flood warnings and a regional guide.
  4. Case studies on best practices in response to drought and flood strategies at the territorial level.
  5. Training courses on drought and flood strategies.
  6. Pilot water harvesting projects in 4 prioritised territories.

The proposed intervention will be implemented at three levels - regional, national, and local - establishing permanent two-way feedback. At the local scale, work will be carried out in watersheds and territories defined by the national counterparts of CCAD, CEPREDENAC and CRRH, including the Chamelecón river basin/Copán Department (Honduras), the Coyolate river basin/Escuintla Department (Guatemala), the Sarapiqui River basin/Province of Heredia (Costa Rica), the Rio Grande de Matagalpa basin/Department of Matagalpa (Nicaragua), and the Pacora River basin/Panama Province (Panama). The selected territories are part of the Central American Dry Corridor.

4.What stage is this project in?

The agencies currently involved in project execution are in the 2019 Annual Operating Plan (AOP) preparation phase and they are coordinating project technical and administrative processes that will begin in February 2019 with an expected duration of 24 months to February 2021.

“The Central American region has advanced in the last decade in its capacity to address disaster risk, with a better-defined institutional framework and the existence of protocols and better work strategies. However, further work is needed to increase the strengthening of prevention, especially in the face of complex phenomena such as droughts and floods. The support of EUROCLIMA+ will strengthen this preventive approach, through the strengthening of the region's governance in this area; the harmonisation of guidelines for the management of these extreme phenomena; and the increase in knowledge and development of tools for the best prediction of drought and the application of actions at a territorial level that favour the adaptation and reduction of drought and flood impacts in territories prioritised by the same region.”

-Salvador Nieto, Executive Secretary of the CCAD.

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