A flooded church in Bangula, Nsanje District, southern Malawi, in January this year. (Photo: Arjen van der Merwe/UNICEF)
By Adam Fysh
MAPUTO, 7 September 2015 – African leaders and experts on disaster risk are moving ahead on detailed planning of implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the new global agreement on reducing disaster losses and a key pillar of the post-2015 Development Agenda.
They have also agreed on peer reviews of each other’s performance in implementing national action plans based on the Sendai Framework. This process will start in September when Malawi will undergo the first such peer review on the continent.
"We cannot be surprised by climate change. If we don't learn lessons from the past, we will lose lives, assets and investments because we have forgotten the lessons of 30 years ago,” said Mr. Jaime Neto, a Member of Mozambique’s Parliament who sits in the Committee on Agriculture, Economy and Environment.
The head of UNISDR, Margareta Wahlström, welcomed the outcome of the forum. “There can be no doubt about Africa’s commitment to disaster risk reduction. Africa was the first region to hold an inter-governmental meeting to voice support for the Sendai Framework. It is a great advance to see peer reviews will now be used for exchanging experience between countries in disaster risk management and monitoring the implementation of agreed commitments,” she said.
A three-day forum in August, hosted by Mozambique and supported by the 13-member Southern African Development Community (SADC), brought together leaders and experts from countries which have suffered major disaster events over the last 20 years, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
“The key outcome of the forum is that each country delegation has developed a detailed plan of action that outlines explicitly how they can return to their home countries and tackle the important work of integrating disaster risk reduction across all sectors and throughout all levels of government,” explained Ms. Sharon Rusu, the head of UNISDR’s Regional Office for Africa.
“They are working on how to integrate ideas such as resilient infrastructure, agriculture, spatial planning, risk governance and climate services into national planning processes,” added Ms. Rusu.
The forum entitled The Fifth Leadership Development Forum on Mainstreaming Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction into Development (MADRiD), concluded August 28 and was organized by UNISDR Regional Office for Africa, the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Mozambique with support from South Korea's Ministry of Public Policy and Security and the Metropolitan City of Incheon, and the Southern Africa Development Community.
It aimed at boosting the development of operational plans to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) into national development planning and budgetary processes and to increase social demand and political commitment.
Commenting on next steps, Mr. Blessing Silewa, an Information Management Officer for Disaster Risk Reduction with SADC noted "the national peer review process will take up where this workshop leaves off. It will push countries beyond self-reporting on progress of implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction mainstreaming.”
The Sendai Framework sets targets to achieve the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.