Colombia: National and local priority with a strong institutional basis for DRR

In Medellín, Colombia, the city government is investing in disaster risk reduction systems. © Marcelo Druck CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Colombia has included disaster risk management in its national development plan, and national platform mechanisms for disaster risk management have been adopted. The country has also established contingency funds for disasters, and includes disaster risk reduction in their national budget. The National Controller's Office of Colombia carried out an audit of disaster risk reduction implementation across government, indicating a commitment by the state as a whole to ensure implementation across sectors and local governments. Large, relatively wealthy urban municipalities (such as Bogotá and Medellín) have well-functioning city disaster risk reduction systems and are now as effective and in some cases better resourced than those at the national level.

In Bogotà, the city government has invested close to US$ 460 million to retrofit and rehabilitate risk prone schools as well as include disaster risk reduction in the educational curriculum. Hospitals, bridges, fire stations and key governmental buildings have also been reinforced. These outcomes were possible through a combination of competent city government, community awareness and participation, and an accurate assessment of disaster risks in the city, the results of which were used in land-use plans, building codes and investment decisions.

In Manizales, an innovative cross-subsidized insurance scheme called Predio Seguro, supported by the city government, has enabled poor households to obtain catastrophe insurance cover. The city government, in partnership with women’s groups in informal settlements also invests in stabilizing slopes in landslide prone informal settlements