The University of Hawaiʻi’s Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) presented the findings of a National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment for Panama to President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen on February 15. This opportunity marked the start of a new phase of disaster risk reduction efforts between PDC and the Panama government.
In August 2021, Cohen signed Decree 251, formally establishing the Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Cabinet with the purpose of serving as an advisory body of the executive branch.
Marking the first session of the newly established cabinet, Cohen invited several expert agencies to offer perspectives and recommendations on priorities and actions to be taken. PDC kicked off the session and presented new findings from its national baseline assessment (PDF) in Panama. Conducted in collaboration with Panama’s Ministry of Government and the national disaster management organization SINAPROC, PDC’s assessment offered a detailed multi-hazard risk profile of the nation and its 13 provinces. It also included a comprehensive disaster-management analysis with recommendations for achieving advanced capacity.
“This assessment allows decision makers to align capacity development efforts with priority needs while supporting Panama’s national commitments under the United Nations Sendai Framework,” said PDC Director of Applied Science and Analytics Joseph Green. He emphasized that Panama maintains a strong disaster management capacity supported by unique partnerships with international organizations and agencies’ headquarters within their borders.
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The World Bank, SINAPROC and the Ministry of Government also presented on their efforts, which included numerous updates to Panama’s national plans for disaster risk reduction and disaster management capacity development.
Panama’s Minister of Government Janaina Tewaney Mencomo said the installation of the cabinet will help the nation responsibly address challenges that the world and Panama will face, including climate change and other adverse events.
At the closing of the cabinet meeting, Cohen recommended continued collaboration between key stakeholders including PDC and the World Bank, committing to ongoing support for national efforts to mitigate disaster risks and protect all of Panama’s citizens into the future.