DRR and climate change adaptation key to reducing extreme weather events

Pedro Basabe, Head, UNISDR Africa, H.E. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy & Agriculture, AUC and Khalil Timamy, Head of Environment, Water & Natural Resources, AUC at the COP-17.
 
By Sarah Wakasa

DURBAN, 3 December 2011 - Linking disaster risk and climate change is key to reducing the impacts of extreme weather events that have increasingly been on the rise, according to a high level debate today at the Climate Change talks in COP-17 in Durban.

The discussions were part of a UNISDR side-event showcasing experiences on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR). The forum also took into account the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction and its extended Programme of action as the main roadmap for building resilience in Africa. The extended Programme of action for DRR accommodates emerging trends and challenges such as the strong linkages between DRR and climate change adaptation as an integral part of sustainable development.

Her Excellency Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Africa Union Commission (AUC), laid emphasis on the importance of partnerships to implement these frameworks and polices.

“A unified approach bringing together various practitioners from agriculture, food security, health, climate science, among other sectors is crucial,” Khalil Timamy, Head of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, AUC stressed.

Pedro Basabe, Head of Office, UNISDR Regional Office for Africa added, “Consequences of climate change will lead to more disasters, therefore we need to ensure that knowledge trickles to the community level.”

He was also referring to the Special Report for ‘Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation’ (SREX). The report includes the important role that non-climatic factors play in determining disaster impacts with a focus on vulnerability and population exposure as critical issues which need to be addressed.

“Climate information centers play a fundamental role in providing timely early warning information to enable end-users cope with risks associated with extreme climate events,” said Laban Ogallo, Director, IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC).

Alhassane Diallo Director General, African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) added, “Strengthening relations between climate information providers and users will assist communities to better cope with the uncertainty of climate change.”

Also present was Alfred Arquillan, the Mayor of Jr. of San Francisco Municipality, Philippines whose city was recently awarded ‘Role model City’ of the Making Cities Resilient campaign and the winner of the UN Sasakawa award for disaster risk reduction. The mayor shared lessons derived from initiatives in his municipality that demonstrate DRR as a crucial actor in sustainable development.

The forum was mainly attended by representatives from the AUC, ACMAD, ICPAC, various national platforms for DRR in Africa, UN agencies, NGOS and Intergovernmental Organizations.
The United Nations General Assembly requested UNISDR to facilitate the development of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction The United Nations General Assembly requested UNISDR to facilitate the development of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
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