Natural Hazard Risk
Argentina is vulnerable to numerous natural hazards, including coastal and river floods, droughts, earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes. Estimates indicate Argentineans have a higher natural disaster loss per capita than most countries in the region.
Argentina is among the ten emerging economies world-wide with the highest flood hazard exposure. Over the past two decades, estimated losses due to floods exceeded $3 billion per year, equivalent to roughly 0.7 percent of gross domestic product in 2012. In the province of Buenos Aires, 2000—11 floods caused nearly $4.5 billion in losses and affected 5.5 million people, with a particularly negative impact on poverty alleviation, economic development, and transit connectivity
Sea level rise is projected to increase Buenos Aires Province’s coastal flood risk. Climate change is also expected to cause temperature rise and higher occurrence of extreme weather events, including excess rainfall leading to river flooding. With nearly 47 percent of the land used for agriculture, crop yields and economic development would be significantly affected. Additionally, the northern and northeastern parts of the country are expected to suffer from desertification, further affecting agricultural productivity.
The government is developing institutional and regulatory frameworks to strengthen disaster and climate resilience. Early government efforts largely focused on earthquake risk, with the National Institute for Seismic Prevention carrying out policy for seismic risk reduction and preparedness.
Disaster risk management (DRM) is the responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The National Civil Protection Directorate coordinates disaster relief policy, plans, and federal interventions with local actors—including damage assessments.
Strengthening the disaster and climate resilience of the agriculture sector is a priority. A 2009 national system creates a regulatory framework for post-disaster financing for the agricultural sector; defines agricultural emergencies; and delineates central and local government responsibilities. In the city of Buenos Aires, reducing urban flood risk and improving drainage systems have been focal points, with support from the World Bank.
To further advance its DRM agenda, the Government of Argentina is prioritizing:
- Enhancing the legal and institutional framework to better prioritize national and provincial actions to increase Argentina’s resilience to natural hazards;
- Strengthening capacities to conduct hazard and risk assessments for improved decision-making;
- Developing a risk-informed financial risk management strategy;
- Reducing exposure to extreme flooding in the provinces of Chaco, Corrientes, and Buenos Aires; and,
- Supporting the city of Buenos Aires to efficiently manage flood risk and improve drainage systems in the Cildáñez, Maldonado, and Vega Basins while improving transport accessibility and reducing the impact on the poor.
GFDRR support to help build disaster resilience in Argentina began in 2015. Through ongoing technical assistance, GFDRR has advised and provided analytical support to strengthen Argentina’s DRM strategy. Activities have assessed the legal and institutional DRM framework; advanced knowledge of hazard and risk assessments; and developed a nation-wide risk financing strategy. Initial activities provided recommendations for national expenditures on DRM and integrating hazard and risk information into land-use planning.
GFDRR has also supported analytical products and knowledge exchange to strengthen the government’s understanding of its DRM challenges and solutions. In 2016, GFDRR supported a technical deep dive on integrated urban flood risk management to provide Argentina and other developing countries the opportunity for knowledge exchange and gaining solutions for project design and implementation.
GFDRR anticipates continued demand from the Government of Argentina for activities on:
- Establishing strategies to mainstream disaster risk analysis into decision-making;
- Assessing and strengthening institutional DRM capacities at the sub-national level, particularly in northeastern provinces;
- Advancing knowledge on disaster risk assessments and risk financing strategies;
- Enhancing DRM through improved urban and territorial planning and through flood mitigation investments to protect households from disaster-induced poverty; and,
- Strengthening government capacity for hydro-meteorology, particularly in the province of Buenos Aires.