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Panama Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in the Education Sector in Latin America and the Caribbean

Panama Declaration

The delegates to the Latin American Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in the Education Sector in Latin America and the Caribbean, representing 18 governments of the region, meeting in Panama City, 12 - 14 October 2011,

Inspired by the work undertaken by the Andean Committee for Disaster Prevention and Relief (CAPRADE), the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Coordination Center for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America (CEPREDENAC), the Central American Educational and Cultural Coordination (CECC/SICA), the Andean Community Disaster Prevention Project (PREDECAN), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Pan American Health Organization, and the European Commission,

Proclaim that education is a fundamental human right of all people and renew our commitment to respect, protect and realize it without any discrimination.

Noting that recurring disasters in impoverished regions and emergency and armed conflict situations may multiply the effects of disasters, leaving a devastating impact on school infrastructure, teaching activities and, in general, on education opportunities for children, adolescents and youth.

Believe that education in disaster situations has the potential to save lives by providing safe spaces for learning, and support, structure and hope to people, enabling them to make the necessary decisions for survival and caring for themselves and others.

Declare that education in disaster situations constitutes an obligation of States and therefore a priority for the Ministries and Secretariats of Education in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Whereas:
over the last forty years disasters have destroyed thousands of schools in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially in States with less capacity to cope with their consequences,
de facto inequality and discrimination reduce education opportunities and in disaster situations are exacerbated for women, girls and young women, people with disabilities, people with HIV/AIDS, ethnic minorities, young children, indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, and migrants, among others,

Based on the foregoing, the Ministers of Education and government delegates from Latin America and the Caribbean agree:

To ensure the right to education in emergency and disaster situations.

To promote the incorporation and/or strengthening of risk management in the curriculum and the development of teaching skills at all educational levels and modalities, according to the specific policies in each country.

To constitute a Regional Thematic Platform for disaster risk management in the education sector, in accordance with the strategic lines built by States.

To develop information systems to facilitate decision-making and the implementation of education policies to reduce risk conditions and manage emergency and disaster situations in the education sector.

To implement a policy of evaluation and ongoing improvement of the existing educational infrastructure and the development of new school buildings, according to risk management standards and codes.

To strengthen coordination and cooperation links between the ministries and secretariats of education in Latin America and the Caribbean in regard to disaster risk management.

We express our appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Panama and, in particular to its Ministry of Education, as well as UNESCO, UNICEF, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, Plan International, Save the Children, the Inter-Agency Network of Education in Emergencies (INEE), the USAIDís Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA/USAID), and the Refugee Education Trust (RET), for organizing this Conference and call on them to make every effort to disseminate this Declaration.

We approve this Declaration, committing ourselves to its agreements, on the 14th day of the month of October 2011, in Panama City, Republic of Panama.

Done and signed in Panama City on Friday, 14 October 2011. Signed by the Ministers of Education of the Government of Belice, Ecuador, Venezuela and Guatemala and the delegates of the Ministries of Education of: Argentina, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & The Grenadines and as witnesses the representatives of UNICEF, UNISDR, Plan International, UNESCO, Save the Children, RET, World Vision
and OFDA / USAID.

  • 26-10-2011