The livestock sector in Central America is of great economic and strategic importance; as a result, and given the region’s vulnerabilities, disasters have a substantial impact on the region, affecting food security, the development of the livestock sector, and small-scale livestock producers who depend on this activity.
Official data confirms that the livestock sector suffers a large part of the losses caused by disasters. In Central America alone, tropical depression 12-E caused damage and losses in the agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors that amounted to USD 406 million, which is equivalent to 67.6% of the total impact on the productive sectors. Between 2003 and 2013, Latin America and the Caribbean experienced losses of USD 11 billion in the crop and livestock sub-sectors, which corresponded to 3% of the projected value of production.
Economic impact estimates would be even higher if indirect impacts were also taken into account, considering the fact that livestock in rural areas has more than just a monetary value. Non-epidemic disasters also exacerbate the situation, given that they generate conditions for higher disease incidence among humans and animals, which, in turn, increases disaster response costs (Díaz, Trelles and Murillo, 2015). Agriculture remains one of the most important sectors for poor producers in Latin America and the Caribbean; approximately 10 million cattle farmers in Latin America make a living on less than USD 2 a day.
Furthermore, the methodologies utilized to conduct disaster impact assessments vary from country to country, as well as between institutions in a single country. This hinders the ability to generate more realistic estimates that describe the actual situation and justify the investments required to manage risks in the livestock sector.
On the other hand, stakeholders involved in the livestock sector demand assistance to further strengthen their capacity to incorporate disaster risk management into their daily work in all public and private, local or national entities, based on the priorities set forth in the Sendai Framework as well as in regional and national policies on disaster risk reduction.
Within this context, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), World Animal Protection, and the Coordination Center for Natural Disaster Prevention in Central America (CEPREDENAC) have organized the present Virtual Technical Forum to analyze the importance of assessing the impact of disasters on the livestock sector, in order to justify the investments required to increase the sector’s resilience. A virtual course in good practices for disaster risk management in the livestock sector will also be presented during the forum.
Representatives of official veterinary services and livestock departments involved in the development or implementation of emergency plans, as well as different professionals from health and environment ministries, civil defense organizations, the academic sector, and non-governmental organizations involved in disaster management.
 UNISDR (Oficina de las Naciones Unidas para la Reducción del Riesgo de Desastres, Suiza); CEPREDENAC (Centro de Coordinación para la Prevención de los Desastres Naturales en América Central, Guatemala). 2014. Informe Regional del Estado de la Vulnerabilidad y Riesgos de Desastres en Centroamérica (en línea). Panamá, UNISDR - Oficina Regional en las Américas. Disponible en https://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/publications/40079.
 FAO (Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentación y la Agricultura, Italia). 2015. The impacts of disasters on agriculture and food security (en línea). Roma, Italia. Disponible en http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5128e.pdf.
 Díaz, A; Trelles, S; Murillo, J. 2015. La gestión del riesgo y la atención de animales en desastres: aumentando la resiliencia del sector pecuario. San José, Costa Rica, IICA. Disponible en http://www.iica.int/sites/default/files/publications/files/2016/B3934e.pdf.
 Otte, J; Costales, A; Dijkman, J; Pica-Ciamarra, U; Robinson, T; Ahuja, V; Ly, C; Roland-Holst, D. 2012. Livestock Sector Development for Poverty Reduction: An Economic and Polity Perspective – Livestock’s Many Virtues. Roma, Italia, FAO.
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