Biodiversity in Panama is Highly Threatened, Says UN

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Panama’s biodiversity is seriously threatened and it is very likely that this trend continues in the future, said the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), as Prensa Latina reports.

UNISDR and UN Information Centre in Panama (CINUP) will present today in Ciudad del Saber the first Regional Report on the State of Vulnerability and Disaster Risks in Central America, in which the situation of Panama is reviewed.

The two institutions released that disaster risks in Panamanian cities have grown in the recent decades as consequence of large conurbations and swift urban growth, particularly in the capital city, the metropolitan area and cities like Veraguas, Chiriqui, Colon and Cocle.

They indicated that in 2005, 23 percent of Panamanian population lived in urban poor areas and therefore they were more vulnerable to disasters, and such situation has worsened since then.

The report, issued by UNISDR, CINUP and conducted with the support of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid), indicates that between 1986 and 2011, Panama had losses valued at some 700 million USD due to natural disasters.

In that same period, the average annual loss of Panamanian Gross Domestic Product reached 30 million USD, said the document, although highlighting some advances towards a more resilient (more resistant) region to disasters.

A mapping performed by UN between 2010 and 2012 reported 18 Early Warning Systems (EWS) to deal with disasters in Panama, 15 out them for flooding, and also that 12 municipalities take part of the Global Campaign “Making Cities Resilient”, staged by the UNISDR.

The meeting will be chaired by Rebeca Arias, coordinator of the UN Development Group for Latin America and the Caribbean and Director of the Regional Centre of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

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