By María Mercedes Martínez
The Central American Protocol for the Shipment, Transit and Reception of Humanitarian Assistance was recently adopted by the Coordination Center for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America (in Spanish: Centro de Coordinación para la Prevención de los Desastres en América Central (CEPREDENAC)), comprised of the Directorates of the National Disaster Offices in Central America. This instrument responds to the mandate given by the Presidents of the Central American Integration System (in Spanish: Sistema de Integración Centroamericana (SICA)) in the framework of the San Jose Declaration of 2013.
The objective of this Protocol is to increase operational coordination in disaster situations, to provide more effective humanitarian and technical assistance in the Central American region, as well as standardize procedures for the modalities of assisted state, assisting state and transit state.
The IFRC and National Societies in the region have been active contributors to the development of the Protocol and welcome this extemely positive step. Central America is among the most active regions in strengthening its regional mechanisms for mutual assistance. In addition to this Protocol, SICA members are expected soon to also adopt a Regulation for the Shipment of Humanitarian Goods.