Disaster Risk Management Education

© UNESCO / Tsunami drawing competition, Chile.

The Latin America and the Caribbean Region is a part of a world characterised by social, cultural, and geographic diversity, affected by potentially destructive natural phenomena such as earthquakes, storms, tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, etc. These characteristics, in a situation that features vulnerability conditions such as high poverty rates, construction of housing on unsafe land, limited health and education services, and a lack of spaces for social participation and articulation in development processes, lead to severe risk conditions.

Quite apart from the major disaster events that attract global attention, the region is also affected by lower intensity or “silent” events: flooding, landslides, and periods of anomalous cold weather and drought, which cause limited national and international impact but which severely destabilize the local economies of the areas affected, aggravating poverty conditions among the most vulnerable. 

Integrating a risk-management approach into the education sector is a key strategy in raising awareness of the effects and causes of disasters, adopting a view of development that is not restricted to valuing current economic growth dynamics and patterns of consumption. Schools that include risk management activities will contribute to a culture of disaster prevention - a key component in countries’ sustainable development, reducing disaster risk and strengthening the most vulnerable communities’ capacities as well as emergency response effectiveness. In light of this challenge, OREALC/UNESCO Santiago is working in coordination with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to support awareness building, mobilization, and motivation to meet the goals of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

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