Preparation to respond to emergencies and disasters in Bolivia
Risk profile in Bolivia
Due to its unique geographical location, variety of climates and multiple ecosystems, Bolivia is regularly exposed to a wide array of natural weather- related and geological hazards, such as floods, droughts, landslides, hail and frost. Like other Andean countries, Bolivia is prone to the El Niño and La Niña (ENSO) effects, which often result in damages and losses in a portion of the country. Climate change effects may need to be added to the current risk profile, as it can result in an increased frequency and magnitude of natural disasters.
Consequently, the territory, its people and productive activities are regularly affected by emergencies and natural disasters, leading to greater economic losses and human suffering among most vulnerable populations.
Our project "Strengthening the Risk Reduction and Emergency/Disaster National System (SISRADE) in preparedness and response", co- executed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), is aimed at strengthening national capacities regarding decision- making and action-taking processes for humanitarian preparation and response.
The project’s strategy is translated into two fields of action: a) The establishment and strengthening of the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) and b) Strengthening the national institutional capacities of the Civil Defense, Departmental Emergency Operation Centers (EOC) as well as some sectoral working tables.
Besides the coordinator and two technical consultants, the project team is mainly comprised of UNV’s – 5 in total- who offer support in different areas of expertise and regions, working also as liaisons with State authorities and the wider humanitarian community.
One of the volunteers is responsible for supporting the creation, promotion and strengthening of the HCT by connecting UN and non- UN humanitarian actors (humanitarian NGO’s and the Red Cross Movement) and by supporting the subscription of basic working and coordination agreements and standard operating procedures.
Other four volunteers are in charge of assisting capacity-building processes among four EOC’s as well as among the health, education, food security and nutrition and WASH sectoral working tables.
Effective emergency preparation and response strengthening processes require a time and determination in order to be sustainable. In that context our aim is to generate participatory, solid scenarios which would allow for constant improvement of national capacities. We firmly believe that volunteerism does not only inspire international community actors but, mainly because of its intrinsic principles of solidarity, trust and support is being increasingly assimilated and esteemed at national and local State levels.
In sum, the UNV team supports:
• The generation of preparedness and response local capacities
• The strengthening of risk management and disaster emergency response.