WASHINGTON, December 13, 2012 – Honduras took a step forward in protecting close to 1.5 million people affected by crime& violence and natural disasters, thanks to two new credits totaling US$45 million approved today by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors.
Through the “Disaster Risk Management Project” (US$30 million) close to 850,000 people across the country will benefit from increased natural disaster mitigation and preparedness plans, while almost 600,000 people in the northern municipalities of Choloma, La Ceiba and El Progreso will benefit from violence prevention initiatives, through a US$15 million credit for the “Safer Municipalities Project.”
Located in one of the world’s most vulnerable areas for natural disasters, Honduras is currently also considered a hotspot for violence and crime.
“Honduras’ vulnerability to natural disasters and the surge of violence and crime have presented challenges in our efforts to reduce poverty and sustain economic growth,” Wilfredo Cerrato, Minister of Finance of Honduras said. “We believe that through this partnership with the World Bank, we will be able to develop strategies and tools that will help us address these challenges and ultimately create better opportunities that will improve the lives of our citizens,” he added.
The Honduran Disaster Risk Management Agency (COPECO, in Spanish) will manage the Disaster Risk Management Project which is designed to increase the country’s capacity to respond to natural disasters.
The project will focus on national, municipal and community level strategies that will translate in improved land use planning as well as new guidelines and procedures in case of a natural disaster. Specifically, the project will include, among other actions:
- Small riverbank protection and improved rain water drainage
- Public awareness campaigns
- Training and education to government officials and the general population.
The Safer Municipalities Project will be administered by the Secretariat of Security (SEDS, in Spanish). It is designed to better prepare national and local authorities in violence prevention activities, addressing risk factors and improving emergency response. The project selected the three northern municipalities of Choloma, La Ceiba and El Progreso due to the high concentration of crime and violence and their previous involvement in the Barrio Ciudad Project.
At the community level, the project will:
- Train communities, especially women, on violence and crime prevention
- Build and/or rehabilitate safe community spaces such as parks or playgrounds; improving street lighting and paving; as well as access to basic services, such as electricity, water and sewage.
- Implement early childhood development programs to address child abuse and neglect.
- Provide counseling to women who are victims of violence.
- Deliver trainings on reproductive and sexual health.
- Prevent school violence through sports and arts programs.
- Offer vocational trainings and drug rehabilitation programs for youth.
“These projects reflect our commitment with Honduras to improve citizen security, reduce vulnerabilities and enhance good governance practice, as outlined in our country partnership strategy,” said Giuseppe Zampaglione, World Bank Representative in Honduras. “Not only that, but it supports our mandate as a World Bank Group to strive to eradicate poverty and expand opportunities for all,” he added.
The Disaster Risk Management and the Safer Municipalities projects are financed through an International Development Agency investment credit. Both credits have a 25 year maturity, including a five year grace period.