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Recently, according to data provided by the World Meteorological Organization, natural disasters have increased fivefold in the last 50 years; beyond this figure, the importance of creating an emergency plan transcends. It is a matter of prevention prior, it will reduce the impact of any disaster, and people, being prepared, will know better how to act at the time; thus, the margin of error of the actions will be smaller. Likewise, Decree 2157 of 2017 provides a guide to know what aspects to consider when developing risk management plans and the support of sustainable development within this management.


What is disaster risk management?

According to Decree 2157 of 2017, «Disaster risk management is a social process aimed at the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies, strategies, plans, programs, regulations, instruments, measures and permanent actions for the knowledge and reduction of risk and disaster management, with the explicit purpose of contributing to the safety, welfare, quality of life of people and sustainable development.»


What are disaster risk management plans, and what are they for?

It mainly consists of a contingency plan for natural, bio-sanitary, socio-natural, and technological disasters. It seeks to mitigate damages or losses caused by disasters and economic, social, and environmental assets. The following illustration shows more detail about each type of disaster:


Its main uses are risk reduction and contributing to sustainable development within the company.


How does disaster risk management contribute to sustainable development? 

Both sustainable development and disaster risk management contemplate three relevant aspects within their development and execution: social, ecological, and economical. With this, it is evident that both concepts seek to improve and optimally treat these three elements that surround them. For this reason, sustainable development plays a fundamental role in disaster risk management since, having common denominators, the latter is based on the former, as a model to contemplate a lesser impact at the financial, ecological, and social levels. Resources inside and outside the company benefit the short and long term.

Now, although both contemplate the social, ecological, and economic part, each one acts differently, as shown in the following model:


Disaster Risk Management                               Sustainable Development

Own elaboration.

The similarity of both models is notorious; therefore, despite certain differences, how they complement each other in dealing with a problem through the intervention of three axes that in turn require elements in common to be functional becomes visible.


What to take into account to carry out the emergency plan?

With the PHVA cycle (plan, do, check, and act), the emergency plan can be designed and monitored. The best way to do it is to follow each step to ensure its success and effectiveness. Also, note that this cycle has the same steps and actions as the BCP.

This cycle consists of 4 phases:

  1. Plan: the risk must be known by establishing its context, assessing it, and monitoring it. Risk reduction is also foreseen through corrective and preventive interventions and financial protection. In addition, the disaster must be managed with an emergency and contingency plan. Finally, there must be an investment plan.
  2. Do: Implement the disaster risk management plan for public and private entities (PGRDEPP), as it allows for risk awareness, risk reduction, disaster management, investment plan, socialization, and communication. It also allows for sectoral implementation and territorial harmonization.
  3. Verify: monitoring and verification are carried out through control, internal audits, and evaluation of the plan’s effectiveness.
  4. Act: finally, at the time of the event, improvement plans and action plans are contemplated. As well as the review and adjustment of the plan (if required).


Finally, it is essential to consider the importance of carrying out simulations to comply with the PHVA cycle more productively and to take advantage of it by identifying what is being done correctly and which aspects should be considered. This aims to improve and adapt the emergency plan according to the identified needs. In addition, implementing emergency plans within organizations is a good practice for business continuity since it integrates four fundamental steps within the BCP.


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