Nairobi, Kenya - The inaugural meeting of the reconstituted African Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction (AWGDRR) ended on Thursday, 31 March, with delegates agreeing to accelerate the implementation of the extended programme of action for the implementation of the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (2006-2015), in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA).
The meeting took place after the Executive Council of the African Union had endorsed the Report of the Second African Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in April 2010, where it also endorsed the extended programme of action.
“The endorsement indicates Africa’s strong political commitment to bring about a substantial reduction of social, economic and environmental impacts of disasters on African people and economies,” said Pedro Basabe, Head, UNISDR Africa.
The programme covers emerging trends and challenges, making links between disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation. It also touches on the importance of increasing investments in disaster risk reduction.
Attending the event was Abebe Haile Gabriel, Director for Rural Economy and Agriculture Africa Union Commission (AUC), and Mohamed Ali, Assistant Minister of State for Special Programmes, who accentuated the importance of AWGDRR as a coordinating body.
“We need to emphasize the need to move from institutions towards concrete implementation through coordinated action,” added Mr. Basabe.
The meeting kicked off in the wake of climatic hazards and urbanization challenges that have dominate the disaster profile of Sub-Saharan Africa, affecting, on average, around 12.5 million people per year.
The meeting was held alongside the formal launch Making Cities Resilient Campaign, of which three cities, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Kampala (Uganda) and Yaoundé (Cameroon) and Narok (Kenya) signed up. By signing up to the campaign, participating mayors and local government officials commit to “Ten Essentials” to make their cities resilient against disaster. Over 600 local government authorities from all over the world have joined this campaign since it began in May 2010.
The meeting was organised jointly by the Africa Union and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). Also at the meeting, the Group agreed on new terms of reference, and discussed the Africa position paper to be presented during the Third Session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in May 2011.