The Regional Hub for Disaster Risk Reduction and Rapid Response visited Ecuador and met with peers and key partners to develop a joint agenda and explore possible synergies and collaboration

The Lima delegation was led by the new Regional Advisor for Disaster Risk Reduction and Rapid Response in Lima, Nicole Clot; and Benjamin Fischer, Programme Officer, who visited Cuenca, Riobamba, Quito and Guayaquil. The mission was accompanied by the Ambassador of Switzerland in Ecuador, Marianne Jenni, in Quito and Guayaquil; and Michael Stadler, Head of international Cooperation at the Embassy in Quito.

Plenary Workshop
© Swiss Embassy in Ecuador

Towards a regional agenda

The timing of the mission was strategically important. Four years after the opening of Humanitarian Aid regional office with the DRR and Rapid Response approach in Lima, the start-up phase is over and a new phase is beginning. The Hub wants to reinforce its regional work, expanding projects to several countries and strengthening regional exchange, so the time was right for Humanitarian Aid and the Swiss Embassy in Quito to meet with their main counterparts in Ecuador and explore possible synergies and cooperation for implementing the strategy.

One of the most important starting points of the mission was the achievements of the project “Knowledge transfer in earthquake-resistant construction”, which SDC operated after Swiss support was given in the rapid response to the 2016 earthquake in Pedernales and which ended with the opening of an occupational training centre in Riobamba a few days before all activities were suspended due to the pandemic. The project focused on the informal sector and was a great success thanks to the close and frank collaboration with numerous government partners (Ecuadorian Vocational Training Service – SECAP, Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation – SENESCYT, Ministry of Urban Development and Housing – MIDUVI, Municipality of Pedernales), NGOs (including EcoSur), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the private sector (Holcim and the Swiss Alliance) and a public financial institution (AFD).

The project designed material with significant potential for further use in Ecuador. One example is the reconstruction in the aftermath of the earthquakes that struck Esmeraldas just a few days before the mission, but also for the future, as SDC is looking for a multi-risk approach in a new initiative (combination of earthquake-resistant construction with flooding) that also includes sharing experiences and transferring knowledge to other countries, Peru for example.

This was the main theme at meetings held with Ambassador Juan Carlos Castrillón, Under-secretary for Economic Affairs and Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility (MREMH); Gabriela Aquilera, Deputy-Minister of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MIDUVI); with officials of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition (MAATE); on a visit to the Occupational Training Centre of the NGO Ecosur in Riobamba; and at a workshop with several partners held at the Swiss Embassy in Quito.

Swiss delegation from the DRR&RR Hub in Lima visits Ríobamba and the EcoSur Foundation
From left to right: Benjamin Fischer and Nicole Clot from the RRD & RR Hub in Lima and Diego Coloma, Executive Director of EcoSur Foundation.
Photo: EcoSur Foundation – Ecuador

A key purpose of the mission was to promote coordination and collaboration agreements between agencies. The Ambassador of Switzerland in Ecuador, Marianne Jenni, chaired a working lunch at the residence of the Swiss Embassy in Ecuador, attended by representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which identified possible coordination, cooperation and collaboration networks.

The priorities of the mission’s agenda were meetings and visits to key partners and stakeholders in disaster risk reduction. The mission visited several important partners, including the National Service for Risk and Emergency Management (SNGRE) and the Integrated Security Service (Ecu911) in Guayaquil – key partners of the Hub for risk reduction and rapid response in Ecuador;  the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology of Ecuador (INAMHI), SDC’s partner in the Anticipatory Action in the Andes project; the Ecuadorian Red Cross, a key partner for SDC with whom it worked successfully in the pandemic response; and finally the project “Capacity-Building for Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Latin America” (CEELA), to evaluate possible synergies with the University of Azuay in Cuenca.

Finally, it is important to highlight that the mission helped identify future actions and forms of linking actions at the regional level, and make the Lima Hub visible and strengthen it in the Andean region.

We share in pictures the highlights of the mission to Ecuador.

2022 04 Reducción del Riesgo de Desastres y Respuesta Rápida de Misión en Ecuador

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