UN-SPIDER participated in the Central American Communicators' Forum "The role of Institutional Communications in the Culture of Risk Prevention" organised by the Coordination Center for Natural Disaster Prevention of Central America (CEPREDENAC) on 10 July 2012. The forum took place in Guatemala City and was attended by forty public relations and media officers from various ministries, civil protection agencies, and by representatives from mass media including newspapers and television networks from the six Central American countries.
The forum offered a space for reflection and discussion regarding opportunities and roles of institutional communications in the context of integral risk management. In his opening remarks, the Executive Secretary of CEPREDENAC, Iván Morales, commented that integral risk management is based on political, economic, social and environmental dimensions and that its aim is to create conditions of integral security throughout the territory that surpass the existing weaknesses which are the root causes of risks. He stressed the need to communicate the message behind integral risk management so as to make the Central American population aware of it. Morales also highlighted the need to have the skills and the knowledge regarding how best to manage and communicate such information to the different target audiences in the region.
Juan Carlos Villagran de Leon of UN-SPIDER was invited to make the opening presentation on the conceptual framework related to integral risk management. Representatives from the Bureau for Crisis Prevention of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-BCPR), The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the World Food Programme (WFP) and from the Regional Information Center in Disasters of Central America (CRID) made complementary presentations. The forum also included several panels where representatives of Central American institutions presented their advances in social media communications targeting risk management.
The forum is one of the activities organized by the Regional Platform for Information and Communication on Risk Management that CEPREDENAC has established as a way to promote its regional integral risk management policy. The event benefitted from the support of Taiwan (Province of China), which has been a long-term partner of CEPREDENAC in efforts targeting risk reduction throughout Central America.