ECOWAS Collaborates with Regional and Global Organisations on Disaster Risk Reduction09 Oct, 2019
The Economic Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is collaborating with regional and global organisations on more effective ways of reducing the risks associated with disasters.
Pursuant to this, the African Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction (AWGDRR) began its 15th session on the 8th of October 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria with the active support of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Management (UNDRR) and the African Union Commission (AUC).
Speaking at the opening, Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender of the ECOWAS Commission, represented by Dr. Sintiki Tarfa-Ugbe, Director Humanitarian and Social Affairs lamented the fact that the population in need of humanitarian assistance and the cost of providing such, have increased significantly over the years.
Tying the phenomenon to the accumulation of vulnerabilities such as “inter-linked” challenges like climate change, rapid population growth, high cost of living, urbanization, soil erosion, floods, depletion of natural resources and conflict related disasters, Commissioner noted that the gravity of these challenges has placed an enormous burden on the African countries that must now be addressed.
The current situation she added, calls for the deployment of more innovative and cost effective means through addressing the underlying drivers of risks and vulnerabilities, also by substantially scaling up investments in Disaster Risk Reduction.
Amjad Abbashar Head, UNDRR Regional Office for Africa, in his remarks, noted that while Africa continues to have some of the World’s fastest growing economies, it remains the continent most vulnerable to natural and manmade hazards and associated disasters.
He disclosed further that studies have showed that more than 90 percent of disasters affecting the continent are climate related “and that climate change will continue to increase the frequency and intensity of natural hazards on the continent, leading to increased disaster risk and threats to sustainable development”
While noting that reducing vulnerability and building resilience of people, economies and assets to the impacts of climate related hazards and associated disasters are critical to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063, he surmised, that Africa is in need of a coherent and integrated approach to implementation, monitoring, review and reporting of climate change including DRR.
The Chair AWGDRR and Director, Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa, represented by the Commission’s Technical Director, DRR, Rural Economy and Agriculture Mr. Gatkuoth Kai, reminded the session of the importance of the Working Group as a catalyst in the development of Disaster Risk Reduction Policies and agenda.
He called for the acceleration of the implementation of the Tunis Declaration as an important roadmap for implementing the priority actions of the Sendai Framework in Africa.
The three-day meeting will provide an opportunity to review sub-regional and continental achievements of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management while examining challenges and opportunities to meet the SDGs for Africa.