Message to the network in the Americas – Christophe Schmachtel

2015 was a year with a lot of activities and events that have been the first of their kind: an UNDAC team deployment to Chile, an UNDAC Induction course hosted by a government of the region (Mexico), an INSARAG exercise not only with USAR team but also Emergency Medical Team participation, an UNDAC emergency preparedness and response capacity assessment mission based on the updated methodology in Paraguay, a first OSOCC training of trainers for the region in Colombia and following this the first OSOCC operations course with CEPREDENAC in Costa Rica. We also deployed a team in support of CDEMA following Hurricane Joaquin and supported an inter-agency DRR assessment mission in Panama.

Looking towards 2016, it is our intention to strengthen the UNDAC team’s capacity in its key areas of work: coordination, information management and assessment. We plan to offer an OSOCC operations course and a Coordinated Assessment and Information Management course in 2016. We also look at the possibility to offer other, more specialised training opportunities and support the training efforts of our partners. The INSARAG regional Group will continue in the roll out of the INSARAG Guidelines and a key event for this will again be the INSARAG regional exercise – SIMEX, this time in Colombia, the 2016 INSARAG Regional Chair. The Regional Group also gave itself the objective to elaborate a proposal to the global NSARAG community on the certification of national USAR team accreditation processes. With the UNDAC operational support partners it will be important to strengthen our coordination and complementarity. We hope to see you all in the first meeting of the all the operational support partners which will be held in Geneva as part of the Humanitarian Network and Partnership Week from 1-4 February 2016.

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