UNDG Regional Workshop for the Latin American and Caribbean Region Strengthens Capacity to Mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction, Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change in the UNDAF Process

33 participants from 11 different UN Country Teams participated in the workshop.11-15 July 2011, Panama City, Panama. UN Country Teams have a critical role to play in mainstreaming environmental sustainability, climate change and disaster risk reduction in country programming to support national development processes.  To address linkages between these three areas and mainstream them in UN Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAF), the UN Development Group (UNDG) Task Team on Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Rio+20, in collaboration with several partners, organized a regional workshop for the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region, 11-15 July 2011 in Panamá.

The workshop brought together 33 members of 11 UN Country Teams embarking on their UNDAF formulation process, one government representative from Belize, as well as 8 members of the LAC Peer Support Group (PSG).  The content of the workshops was based on three interrelated UNDG guidance notes, which are available in English, French and Spanish and can be found on the UNDG website:

Participants are now familiar with the three UNDG Guidance Notes and therefore better able to use the tools and approaches they contain, they have learned from peers about other’s experiences and good practices, and are returning to their UNCTs with ideas on how to move forward in their respective country contexts.

In her opening remarks, Margarita Astralaga, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Director for LAC, highlighted the importance of integrating the three topics in UN Programming processes and provided a brief UNDG context to the three regional workshops. She also stressed that although the task of mainstreaming the topics was challenging, tools did exist to facilitate the process and guide the work of UNCTs.  

Eddie Madinger discussing tools for mainstreaming ES, CC and DRR.Eddie Madinger, former Senior Advisor at the Regional Office of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Panama, led the workshop together with three Spanish-speaking resource persons previously trained in related UN System Staff College ‘Training-of-Trainers’ events.  Ricardo Mena, Chief of the LAC Regional Office of the International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (ISDR), Andrea Brusco, Legal Officer for UNEP's LAC Regional Office, and Cinthia Soto, Regional Coordinator for UNEP’s LAC Delivering as One UN Initiative, each brought in their expertise in environmental sustainability (ES), climate change (CC), and disaster risk reduction (DRR).  Maribel Landau, Chair of the LAC PSG, as well as Guillermo Dutra, International Labor Organization (ILO) Regional Advisor in UN Reform and member of the LAC PSG, both suitably added to the resource team by bringing in their respective experience with the UNDAF process and the UNDG Quality Support and Advice.

Participants discussed entry points and opportunities for mainstreaming in their UNDAF Road Maps.The workshop emphasized hands-on ‘Country Clinics’, where participants presented opportunities and challenges in their UNDAF development processes and gathered feedback and advice from their peers.  This was balanced with presentations on the tools contained in the UNDG Guidance Notes and brief introductions to the normative frameworks and international context for ES, CC and DRR.

This was the second of three workshops to be delivered at the regional level in 2011, where the first one took place in Nairobi for the Africa and Arab regions (20-25 June), and the last one will soon unfold in Bangkok for the Asia Pacific region (25-29 July).   The workshops are oriented to members of UN Country Teams who are embarking on the UNDAF roll-out process in 2011 and 2012, with the aim of enabling them to identify opportunities and tools for mainstreaming ES, CC and DRR in these processes.  

The three regional workshops are organized by the UNDG Task Team in cooperation with the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI), UNEP, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR with resources from UN CC:Learn), and the UN System Staff College (UNSSC). The participation of the PSG members to the LAC regional workshop was made possible by funds provided by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

For additional information please contact: Marjolaine Côté (marjolaine.cote@undp.org).