N’Djamena- Parliamentarians and Ministers from Central African countries met in Chad last Saturday and recognized disaster risk reduction measures as a main tool to adapt to future climate related disasters that are already affecting many countries in Africa.
Africa is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and the preservation of the basins of Lake of Chad and Congo River is a primary concern for many people in Central Africa.
According to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, the frequency of weather- and climate-related disasters in Africa has increased since the 1970s, and both the Sahel and Southern Africa have become drier during the twentieth century. Water supplies and agricultural production will become even more severely diminished in the future and by 2020, agricultural yields could be reduced by as much as 50% in certain African countries.
The Consultative Meeting of Parliamentarians in Chad recognized the crucial synergy between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Central African countries and agreed on concrete actions that parliamentarians will take back to their respective countries in order to facilitate immediate and cost effective national adaptation to climate change.
The Chair of the African Parliamentarian initiative on Climate Risk Reduction called for a common African position that will link climate change adaptation to disaster risk reduction and be brought to the next climate change negotiations in Copenhagen.
“The recommendations adopted at the meeting are critical to help people to adapt to climate change and ensure a sustainable development– environmentally, socially and economically, with support of modern technology and good governance,” said Sálvano Briceño, Director of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), who recommended using the Hyogo Framework for Action, a ten-year plan of action to build the resilience of nations and communities to disasters.
Eleven Ministers of Environment also assembled in Chad in a parallel African Ministerial Conference to prepare the launch of the Great Green Wall – a green project that will plant enough trees to combat the desertification of the Sahel and Sahara region from Senegal to Djibouti. “These two conferences are addressing the same problem. The protection of the environment is not only a statement, but an attitude,” said Youssouf Saleh Abbas Prime Minister of the Republic of Chad, who was hosting the event.
The UNISDR plays a crucial role in advocating for the link between disaster risk reduction and environmental protection. The degradation of the environment, climate change impacts and rapid urbanisation have been identified by the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction as three main driving factors that will cause more disasters in the future.