Geneva, 7 December 2010 – As governments enter the second week of negotiations at the United Nations climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, UNISDR today signed an agreement with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) to strengthen collaboration on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
“This pivotal agreement takes risk reduction in Central Africa to the next level and will deliver long-term benefits to a region high at risk from natural hazards,” said UNISDR Deputy Director Helena Molin Valdés. “Our next step is to work together and support member states to implement the African policies on climate change, environmental management and natural resources along the existing Africa regional strategy for disaster risk reduction.”
A memorandum of understanding between the two entities will pave the way for cooperation on technical assistance for disaster risk reduction in Central Africa, which will include developing and signing a data sharing protocol. It will also allow the two bodies to work together to assess key institutions within ECCAS specializing in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
Among planned activities in December, the two organizations will provide support to Gabon to develop its contingency plan for disaster response. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNISDR and ECCAS plan to conduct an evaluation of agricultural damage and water pollution in Goma city after the Nyamulagira volcano eruption in early 2010.
The Secretary-General of ECCAS, General Louis-Sylvain Goma, said: "The signature of this agreement today is the culmination of the fruitful collaboration between ECCAS and UNISDR, supported by the Global Facility for Disatser Reduction and Recovery of the World Bank, that started in 2008 seeking to strentgthen the institutional framework of ECCAS and integratinng risk reduction into our development programmes and projects".
At a summit meeting in 2007, ECCAS adopted the Environment and Natural Resources Policy. Two years later, with technical support from UNISDR, the ECCAS Coordinating Bureau for the Environment and Natural Resources drafted a policy for disaster risk reduction. ECCAS also formulated a comprehensive programme for Environmental Management, which included disaster risk reduction as an element and was awarded €2 million by the European Union.
The UNISDR Regional Office in Africa works to implement the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction and its Programme of Action, adopted at the Second Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction, in April 2010. UNISDR's collaboration with ECCA is underpinned by support from the World Bank's Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.
ECCAS is headquartered in Libreville, Gabon and its member states are the following countries: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, and Chad.