The African Union (AU) will integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into its new Africa climate change strategy.
AU Commissioner Rhoda Peace made the announcement to the opening session of the fifth Africa Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Abuja, Nigeria, from May 13-16.
She also urged the inclusion of Africa’s priorities in the global post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction, saying that this “will mean providing an essential instrument that will allow us to transform development to manage risk, seize opportunities and strengthen resilience, thereby ensuring sustainable development.”
Muhammad Sani Sidi, director-general of Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, told participants that “investing in disaster risk reduction helps to reduce the impacts of hazards, decrease poverty, and helps communities adapt to climate change, among other benefits.”
Another speaker at the opening session, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) head Margareta Wahlström said disaster risk reduction had to become part of national development plans.
Nigerian Senator Anyim Pius Anyim hailed the creation of NEMA as a key achievement of the country and a sign of the government’s commitment to disaster risk reduction, but acknowledged the need to do more to address trans-boundary issues, recalling serious flooding in Nigeria in recent years due to overflows from a dam in Cameroon.
The event’s plenary sessions and special events had a strong focus on drought, extreme weather and flooding.
The meeting was due to adopt a ministerial declaration to formalize and strengthen the final Africa Position on the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction, HFA-2, which will replace the original Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), which expires in 2015.
This declaration, together with the Africa contribution to the HFA-2 and stakeholder commitments, will be submitted to the preparatory committee of the World Conference, which will meet in Geneva, Switzerland in July, and also to the African Union Summit for endorsement.
Suggested options for inclusion in the new framework include establishing more systematic linkages between technical agencies, such as meteorological, hydrological and climate services and disaster risk management agencies.