In its report “Analysis of disaster risk management in Colombia: a contribution to the construction of public policies, the world bank indicates that:

“During the last 40 years, disasters have caused losses that reach US $ 7.1 billion; that is an average annual loss of US $ 177 million. Between 1970 and 2011 there have been more than 28,000 disastrous events, of which close to 60% occurred in the 1990s. In addition, during 2010 and 2011, in just 15 months, a figure was reached equivalent to a quarter of the records and deaths of the previous decade.

There is an evident increase in the occurrence of disastrous events, going from 5,657 records, between 1970 and 1979, to 9,270 records, between 2000 and 2009, which is related not only to the availability and quality of information sources, but mainly with the increase in population and exposed assets.” (Bogotá, Colombia: World Bank, p. 436, 2012)

While the occurrence of natural disasters is important, this is not the central problem. The same report states:

“Currently, the distribution of the level of exposure indicates that in Colombia 36% of the territory is in a situation of high seismic threat, 28% in high flood potential and 8% in high threat from mass movements. Hydrometeorological phenomena generate more localized, but high-frequency impacts.

While geological events cause large concentrated losses in a territory and in a relatively short period, hydrometeorological phenomena generate more localized but high-frequency impacts, which cumulatively over time mean losses even greater than those associated with seismic events and volcanic eruptions.”

Colombia also presents the threat of hurricanes, forest fires and technological, industrial, and unintentional anthropic, among others.

According to the World Bank, there are 4 factors that make the risk grow:

  1. Conceptual advances in the subject that could not be reflected as policies in the state, much less at the local level.
  2. The risk accumulates due to the lack of application of policies and management instruments at the municipal level and in the basins.
  3. Gaps in the issue in sectorial policies and plans that threaten investments and increase exposure and vulnerability.
  4. The absence of policies to empower citizens and the private sector.
And there are 6 strategies that we suggest implementing:
  1. Integrate risk management into state policy at all levels, adjusting and harmonizing the regulatory and institutional framework.
  2. Increase effectiveness of investments in risk management, with strategic planning, coordination, monitoring and control between territorial levels.
  3. Strengthen local capacity.
  4. Reduce the risk of floods and landslides with planning, investing, monitoring, controlling and coordinating of actors in the basins.
  5. Sectoral policies and action plans at all levels.
  6. Limit public and private responsibilities.

The private sector in Latin America has between 70 and 80% of the total investments in region, (Private sector of Latin America and the Caribbean, present in the Regional Platform of Guayaquil, 2014):

“Which contributes to creating and maintaining both infrastructure and services to society. If the criteria and aspects of disaster reduction in them are not taken into account, they can also influence the increase in exposure and vulnerability of communities or territories where they operate to disasters”

Regarding the private sector in Latin America, “it needs to be more resilient, for which the risk of disasters and adaptation to climate change needs to be taken into business practices.”

The 2013 “Global Assessment on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) report, prepared by UNISDR (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) indicates that “in a world experiencing continuous population growth, rapid urbanization, climate change and an approach to investment that often ignores disaster risk, the great potential for future losses is of particular concern. Today, the global community is mixing the ingredients of a destructive ‘disaster risk cocktail’, despite the fact that catastrophic economic losses caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the floods in Thailand, and the super storm Sandy, all of great destructive power, are still very recent ”

In this context, the aforementioned UNISDR document states that “globally, the business community is just beginning to discover the probable risk of disasters that implicates investing in places prone to various threats, as they seek positive business environments and want to achieve competitive advantages.

There are also some signs of change that are encouraging. Public-private partnerships around risk management have proven to be very valuable during various disasters, such as the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand.”

The same report states that “for the private sector, the argument for achieving stronger disaster risk management is clear.” It is critical to “reduce the degree of uncertainty and establish more confidence, lower costs and create value.”

In general, UNISDR indicates that “they are revealing a greater amount of evidence about a change of attitude among senior executives regarding this issue.” Despite the fact that “corporate management continues to focus on financial, economic, legal and market risks”, the truth is that disaster risk is rarely taken into account“ not even being ”among the top 10th, 20th, or 50th of the first risks that concern companies”.