Decree 2157 of 2017 as a fundamental tool in risk management in Colombia.

In December 2017, Decree 2157 was formally published by the Administrative Department of the Presidency, which adopted the general guidelines for the elaboration of the Disaster Risk Management Plans of Public and Private Entities (PGRDEPP), in the framework of the regulation of Article 42 of Law 1523 of 2012. The interpretation of the Decree by public and private entities will largely depend on whether the objective of establishing or strengthening a culture based on risk management, under the three guiding processes that correspond to risk knowledge, risk reduction and disaster management, which are in turn the three main components that any PGRDEPP should have, is actually achieved.

The path traced with Law 1523 of 2012 and defined at the local level through Decree 2157 of 2017, will allow the country to advance in Risk Management, provided that each of the actors involved, conceive that the correct application of risk management processes, which are directly related to the continuous improvement of the entities, The primary objective is to ensure that the risks that a given activity can generate on the environment are identified and, in turn, the risks that the environment can generate on the activity, seeking to reduce the damage and losses that can occur to economic, social and/or environmental assets, within the company or in the external context where the activity is carried out. Finally, by developing the disaster management process, through the correct formulation and application of the Emergency and Contingency Plan, the aim is for companies to be prepared to deal with any emergencies that may arise, including preparation for post-emergency or recovery activities.

It is necessary to understand that Decree 2157 of 2017 is a regulation that, as its object indicates, sets out the “general guidelines” for the elaboration of the Disaster Risk Management Plan, i.e. it constitutes a reference framework for the formulation of the Plans, which corresponds to the minimum content that they should have. This is why the different authorities or entities related to each sector may issue additional requirements, according to the knowledge of each particular activity, seeking the effective implementation of disaster risk management processes, as established in subsection 7 of the aforementioned Decree. Therefore, generally each entity with inherence over a particular activity and/or sector, formulates the formal requirement of the PGRDEPP, citing compliance with Decree 2157 of 2017, but at the same time relating additional requirements to those contained therein, seeking that a document that responds to the conditions and particularities of each organisation is actually elaborated.

In order to achieve the objective initially outlined in Article 42 of Law 1523, one of the visions that must be overcome corresponds to the purely legal compliance approach, i.e. formulating the PGRDEPP only to comply with a specific regulation or requirement, which is then filed together with its letter of filing, without really transcending the approach of risk management, which is the updating, implementation and constant monitoring of the same; The formulation of plans in this way will impede the growth and development sought by the regulation in this area, as risk management is aimed at a horizon that extends and strengthens over time, allowing Colombia to move forward in the consolidation of the National Policy for Disaster Risk Management, adopted by Law 1523 of 2012. This is why it is worth remembering that the task does not end with planning on paper, but that this is where it begins.

In this sense, after the formulation of the document, the processes of adoption and implementation of the Plans must be facilitated, which in turn entails continuous improvement processes related to socialisation and communication to the different actors involved, territorial harmonisation of the Plan with municipal and departmental risk management planning instruments; monitoring and verification; review and adjustment, and the corresponding control that can be exercised by the State control bodies, as well as the citizen oversight bodies empowered by articles 2° and 44 of Law 1523 of 2012 and by the National Constitution.

Varichem de Colombia as a leading company in risk management and environmental management in Colombia, has formulated countless Risk Management Plans, and in turn has participated in supporting the implementation of some of these, thus becoming a strategic ally for the companies for which we provide solutions. It is not what we do, but how we do it that makes the difference.


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