The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the importance of preparedness and the coordination capacities of national and regional disaster risk management agencies. The notes below includes good practices and lessons learned from Central America and the Dominican Republic.
The promotion of regional and cross-border cooperation mechanisms is essential for effective, multisectoral and coordinated management of the pandemic from a disaster risk reduction approach.
Following the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) at a global level, the pro tempore presidency of Honduras and the general secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SICA) convened an emergency virtual meeting on 12 March, 2020. Its aim was to identify and coordinate measures among the SICA member states. Meeting participants included heads of state from Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic, alongside the deputy prime minister of Belize.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of the “Central America allied against the coronavirus” declaration which recommended the development of a Regional Contingency Plan to deal with the pandemic.
In response to this recommendation, the Coordination Centre for Disaster Prevention in Central America and the Dominican Republic (CEPREDENAC) has developed a prevention, containment, treatment and recovery strategy for COVID-19. It has also defined actions and protocols for information management with a multi-hazard approach, as stipulated by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
CEPREDENAC has also developed the SICA COVID-19 Information and Coordination Platform.
The following sections briefly describe these initiatives, their results to date, the opportunities and challenges encountered, as well as steps to follow.