After experiencing enormous catastrophes, Nicaragua designed a complete legal framework for disaster risk management. Following decentralization principles, the municipality is the main responsible for planning and managing risks at local level. Although it should work based on theory, in practice disaster risk management is far from being effective in the communities that I have visited.

One of the problems is clearly the lack of resources and particularly, its allocation. Municipal officials and money are rarely dedicated to disaster risk projects. It seems that the municipality expects development agencies or humanitarian action to cover these issues. Moreover, the projects carried out by the local government rarely integrate disaster risk.

In addition, community involvement and participation is basic for structures and plans to be operational in the long-term but they have not been tackled enough. Many communities have formed a group for risk management called COLOPRED, but it lasts barely a couple of years. When there is no external support, the structure fails. Thus, the population is not completely aware of its situation and the process was not really owned by the community.

Both problems could be partly solved by understanding disaster risk as a process and a part of development of the area. Local institutions and citizens must be aware and engaged in the process, which means that a scare, but very valuable force is necessary: political commitment.


Written by Ainara Casajús

Image: Cartilla – Incorporación de la Gestión de Riesgos en el Proceso de Planificación Municipal. Retrieved from: 

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