Natural Disasters: better equipping disadvantaged population groups to cope

Project completed

Floods, droughts, hailstorms, frost, landslides and earthquakes are among the natural hazards to which Bolivia is exposed. All of these natural disasters are exacerbated by climate change and severely affect Bolivia’s population. The Disaster Risk Reduction Programme in Bolivia improves the country’s ability to reduce the impact of natural disasters and climate change on people’s lives, on the country’s economy and on its infrastructure.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Climate change and environment
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Biosphere protection
Material relief assistance
Public sector policy
01.01.2013 - 31.05.2014
CHF 1'750'000

The Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Programme is one of eight programmes of the SDC in Bolivia. The DRR programme, launched in 2005, is in its third phase which covers the period from 2010 to 2014.

Severe impact of natural hazards

Bolivia is exposed to various natural hazards and to the impact of climate variability and climate change. In recent years the recurrence of floods and droughts has increased, affecting large areas of the western and eastern parts of the country.

The impact both on the Bolivian population and the economy are severe. Disadvantaged populations and the productive sectors are particularly affected. DRR must be linked to sustainable development activities in order to increase a country’s resilience, its ability to withstand and recover from disasters. While there are efforts at the local level to introduce DRR and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) in municipal planning, the integration of DRR into national infrastructure and public works budgets is still a challenge.

Increasing resilience

The programme will achieve its aims in two ways:

  • By improving Bolivia’s ability to reduce the negative impacts of natural disasters and climate change on the lives of its population, on infrastructure and on the country’s economic activities, thereby increasing the country’s resilience.
  • By building up the capability of the DRR National System to prepare for, adequately respond to and recover from natural disasters.

Targeting public policy is one of the key means by which the programme seeks to achieve these goals. Promoting DRR and the inclusion of CCA at various government levels and by creating tools and strengthening the ability of municipalities to influence public policies at the local, regional and national levels. For example, through this programme 24 municipalities have included funds for DRR in their annual budgets. These municipalities have also drawn up hazard maps, conducted risk analyses and drafted land-use plans.

The programme has achieved a number of further results

  • Awareness raising and dissemination of sound information on DRR among civil society

  • Training of local technicians

  • Increasing yields by reducing the negative effects of frost and hail through DRR measures

  • Designing a risk-transfer model (agricultural insurance) and implementing it in a participatory way. Approximately 350 farmers where insured against agricultural losses due to natural hazards.

Expected results by 2014:

  • Local actors understand and apply Disaster Risk Reduction measures and Climate Change Adaptation.

  • Agricultural production in the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups is better protected from disasters and climate change.

  • All SDC programmes in Bolivia fully integrate DRR and CCA and are less vulnerable to natural hazards.

  • National institutions dealing with DRR, CCA and related issues are better able to implement their policies.