PAHO/WHO presented its strategic plan for disasters 2008-2012 which sets the priorities to achieve risk reduction and mitigation of the impact of disasters on health and the welfare of the population. The plan, prepared by the Area of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief of the Organization, includes six strategic objectives: improvement of the capacity of the health sector in disaster preparedness, the protection of health services, assistance to countries in health response, the creation of stronger relations with regional, national and global partners, the incorporation of risk reduction in health as a main theme in the programmes of all institutional partners and changes of usual attitudes and behaviours during an emergency.

The plan represents a renewed level of commitment on the part of PAHO/WHO in disaster risk reduction, which is also demonstrated by the recent decision adopted by the WHO General Assembly aiming to include disaster preparedness as one of the 16 strategic objectives of the organization, and with the decision to raise the Department for Health Action in Crisis to one of the highest administrative levels in the Organization. The Strategic Plan can be consulted at the following address: and click on “Must Read”.