June 16, 1999 Panel Discussion

Linking Disaster Management to Sustainable Development


Online Transcript
Download Transcript (MS Word File)

Helena Molin Valdes
Stephen Bender
Oliver Davidson

Amy Sebring

Related Pages:
Hemispheric Congress on Disaster Reduction and Sustainable Development
IDNDR Regional Unit for Latin America
OAS Natural Hazards Project
World Bank Disaster Management Facility

Related Articles:
Hemisphere Magazine, April 1998 Issue, including:
A Call for Action, by Andrew Maskrey and Walter Gillis Peacocock
A Matter of Choice, by Stephen Bender
Reducing Vulnerability, by Timothy Beatley and Philip R. Berke


EIIP Virtual Forum Panel Discussion
Wednesday - June 16, 1999 - 12:00 Noon EDT

Linking Disaster Management and
Sustainable Development Globally

Featured Panelists

Helene Molin Valdes
International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) Secretariat
Unit for Latin America and the Caribbean

Ollie Davidson
World Bank on Disaster Projects

Stephen Bender
Unit of Sustainable Development and Environment
Organization of American States (OAS)

The EIIP Virtual forum featured a panel recently to discuss linking disaster reduction to sustainable development domestically; the June 16 panel discussion addressed the same topic in an international context with specific focus on the Western Hemisphere.

A quote by Gustavo López Ospina, Badaoui Rouhban and Julia Heiss of UNESCO was provided prior to the panel discussion:

Sustainable development has been variously defined and described. It is not a fixed notion, but rather a process of change in the relationship between social, economic and natural systems and processes. … sustainability calls for a dynamic balance among all factors, including the social, cultural and economic requirements of humankind and the imperative need to safeguard the natural environment of which humanity is part. What is sought is the condition of "human security" for all people. (UNESCO/EPD 1997)

The panelists were featured in the EIIP Panel room to discuss sustainable development and disaster vulnerability issues as we near the end of the decade, with particular emphasis on recent activities and events in the Western Hemisphere.


IDNDR Secretariat
Unit for Latin America and the Caribbean

Helena Valdes has been Working at the UN IDNDR Secretariat, outposted in Costa Rica for the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, since 1992. Before that, she worked in Nicargaua for six years in local development projects (housing, water, community training and capaicity building, municipality reinforcement, local building material development, energy saving firewood stoves, etc.) with Swedish cooperation.

As part of the IDNDR responsibilities, she also functions as director of the Regional Disaster Information Center CRID, based in Costa Rica. She holds a Master of Architecture degree from Sweden.

Helena Molin Valdes, IDNDR Secretariat, UN / DIRDN, ONU
Unit for Latin America and the Caribbean / Unidad Regional
Aptdo Postal 3745-1000, San Jose, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 257-2141, 255-1962
Fax: (506) 257-2139
email:[email protected],
[email protected]

* * * *


Unit of Sustainable Development and Environment
Organization of American States

Since October 1983, Stephen O. Bender has been a principal specialist in the Unit of Sustainable Development and Environment (USDE), the project chief of the Natural Hazards Project, and advisor to the Director of USDE on issues of planning and environmental management. Before taking this position, he was project chief for the USDE in Uruguay. He also worked as an international consultant from 1976 until 1979, and between 1973 and 1976 he was a founding member of the Rice Center for Community Design and Research at Rice University, and directed the Latin America Program. He was also a faculty member at the Rice University School of Architecture. Mr. Bender has worked in most OAS member states on urban and regional development planning issues including natural hazard and natural resource management; urban and rural colonization settlement design; housing and potable water; and international technical cooperation program design, administration and training. In the last few years, Mr. Bender has directed the Natural Hazards Project from its conception to a major technical assistance and training program active throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Mr. Bender has a Bachelor of Architecture from Notre Dame University and a Masters in Architecture in Urban Design from Rice University.

* * * *


Private - Public Partnerships for Disaster Reduction
(Consultant to the World Bank on Disaster Projects)

Ollie Davidson has over 20 years of experience in International and Domestic Emergency Management with developed expertise in analyzing disaster needs, resolving complex problems, identifying necessary resources and implementing workable solutions.
Selected accomplishments include:

  • Created six major disaster programs funded by the Agency for International Development which continue to save lives and property in eleven countries
  • Planned and directed 320 U.S. Government international disaster relief operations for USAID and the Department of State, responding to civil strife and natural disasters
  • Authored business/industry component of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Strategic Plan
  • Founded Private - Public Partnerships for Disaster Reduction to engage U.S. businesses with government emergency managers and community based organizations

He is currently involved with the East Caribbean Disaster Project (OECS States) supporting the element which strengthens the country Emergency Management Offices. This includes reviewing their disaster plans, providing technical assistance and some equipment including, communication, emergency equipment, "loss reduction materials" (relief type supplies provided in advance which will reduce secondary losses and aleviate some suffering).

Private - Public Partnerships for Disaster Reduction
P.O. Box 151738
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20825
301-657-3204 (Bus phone/Fax)
[email protected] (E-Mail)

* * * *

Monthly Feature Topic Page