At today's opening of the 5th Africa Drought Forum in Arusha, Tanzania, Jesca Eriyo, Deputy Secretary-General of the East African Community with UNISDR Regional Head for Africa, Pedro Basabe.
By Denis McClean
ARUSHA, 11 February 2013
- The East African Community (EAC) today announced that it is renewing its commitment to implement the global disaster risk reduction framework, the Hyogo Framework for Action, and that it had agreed last week on a new plan.
Speaking today at the opening of the 5th Africa Drought Forum, Jesca Eriyo, EAC Deputy Secretary-General, said that Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania "recognized the need to implement disaster risk reduction activities in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action and the Africa Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy and Programme of Action."
He revealed: "A week ago, the Second Sectoral Council on Environment and Natural Resources sitting in Kigali, Rwanda, adopted the draft EAC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Strategy.
"In the coming few months, the EAC Secretariat will focus on the implementation plan and modalities for this strategy. This tool once implemented will accelerate the DRR agenda for the region and create mechanisms for better application of DRR principles at all levels."
He said that Africa has to be part of the evolving debate on the post-2015 development agenda and that while there have been "remarkable achievements in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, it is in doubt whether the full realization of the HFA priorities will be achieved by the lapse of the set period in 2015. We need to carefully consider this fact in our deliberations."
Nyancheghe A.K. Nanai, Assistant Director, Disaster Management Department of the Prime Minister's Office, Tanzania, told the 5th Africa Drought Forum, that many African countries face institutional problems which hinder the effectiveness of early warning systems.
She listed them as "lack of drought policies and strategies, and political will; poor integration of knowledge and information into government structures; complex relationships between donors and governments; lack of coordination between existing local and international food security information systems and focus on emergency response rather than mitigation."
Ms. Nanai said she expected that one outcome of the 5th Africa Drought Forum would be "to influence African states to come up with drought policies that emphasize risk identification and early warning systems, awareness and knowledge management strategies, and effective mitigation and preparedness measures."
Introducing the theme of the two-day forum, "Reducing Drought Risk in Africa -- Measuring Impact, Strategizing for the Future", UNISDR Regional Head, Pedro Basabe, said: "One very important outcome of these two days will be the development of a disaster risk reduction investment strategy for Africa which will include drought and other hazards which are hindering poverty reduction efforts across the continent."
Philippe Poinsot, Country Director, UNDP Tanzania, told the opening plenary that the Drought Forum provided an opportunity to move closer to a common understanding of how to build a drought resilient society guided by the priorities outlined in the Hyogo Framework for Action.
The 5th Africa Drought Forum, hosted by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, with the support of UNISDR, UNDP and ECHO will conclude tomorrow with agreement on a series of measures to tackle drought across the continent. It will be followed by UNISDR's two-day biennial Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction which will be chaired by UNISDR's chief Margareta Wahlström, who is also the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction.