The African Union Commission (AUC) is the custodian of the Africa Programme of Action (PoA) for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) which expresses African Union (AU) member states strong commitment to the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 in Africa. The PoA as stipulated in the Sendai Framework aims to substantially reduce continental disaster risk and losses by 2030.
The AUC has made progress in achieving the PoA as stipulated in the Sendai Framework through the following:
- The adoption of an updated operationalisation Matrix of the PoA (2021-2025) to implement the Sendai Framework in Africa;
- The convening of processes, regional platforms, and technical groups to produce different reports as part of popularizing, monitoring and providing an accountability mechanism as part of DRR governance on the PoA progress. This includes the latest Biennial Report on the PoA for the implementation of the Sendai Framework in Africa
- Substantial increase in political commitment through as demonstrated by the appointment of H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique as African Union Champion for Disaster Risk Management and the adoption of the Nairobi Declaration on accelerating the path to achieving the goals and targets of the Programme of Action for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 in Africa
- Concerted support by AUC to increase number of countries that have their national DRR strategies aligned to the PoA and Sendai Framework. At least 18 African countries have been successful in achieving this.
- The establishment of three Multi-Hazard Early Warning System and Early Action Situation Rooms; One continental situation room at the premisses of the African Union in Addis Ababa and the other two at the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) Disaster Operation Situation Room in Ngong-Nairobi, Kenya; and African Centre for Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) Continental Climate Advisory Situation Room in Niamey, Niger respectively.
- The adoption of the Africa Institutional and Operational Framework for Multi-hazard Early Warning System and Early Action;
- The establishment and operationalization of the Africa Science and Technology Advisory Group and a Youth Advisory Board on DRR;
- The development of the COVID-19 Recovery Framework for Africa and Green Recovery Action Plan (GRAP), among others
The above achievements by the AUC have been possible through the concerted support of donors such as the European Union, Governments of Italy and Sweden, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) among others. Further concerted efforts are needed for the implementation of the PoA to realise substantial reduction in disaster losses.
The establishment of the three Multi-Hazard Early Warning System situation rooms is an example of an existing good practice by the AUC. These three situation rooms are already yielding dividend and were particularly put to test at the early part of this year when successive tropical cyclones devastated countries in the south of the African continent. The Africa MultiHazard Early Warning and Early Action Situation room at Addis Ababa through a networked approach with other situation rooms and agencies was able to produce situation reports to inform the AUC humanitarian response plans to support countries to adequately prepare and support coordination efforts to respond promptly and recover quickly from the disaster. Another good practice worth mentioning are the establishment of the Africa Science and Technology Advisory group and Africa Youth Advisory Board for DRR. The PoA as stipulated in the Sendai Framework mentions Member States as leading the implementation of DRR strategies. However, it mentions non-state actors such as scientists and the youth as stakeholders that can be active participants in the DRR process when empowered. As a youthful continent, empowering its demographic dividend to be agents of change in the DRR process will ensure that no one is left behind in achieving sustainable development. Disasters are multi-facetted and it only by working together that disaster risks can be effectively reduced. We can strengthen existing, and forge new networks and partnerships for DRR by sharing experiences and jointly mobilising resources to invest in reducing exposure, systemic risks and building resilience using a whole of society approach. For example, the establishment of the ACP-EU regional platform for knowledge exchange on DRR is an excellent example of regional mechanisms for risk information exchange. It’s first forum was convened on the margins of the 2019 Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction. This good practice has facilitated the exchange of relevant documents, experiences and technical guidance on DRR.
The foremost priorities of the AUC to accelerate action towards Disaster Risk Reduction towards 2030 are:
- To provide support to more African countries in aligning their national DRR strategies to the PoA and Sendai Framework
- To develop and implement a common understanding and approach to addressing regional and transboundary disaster risks. To this end, ministerial declarations, appointment of political champions, strategies and programmes of action, help to reaffirm a common understanding of disaster risk
- Increase the availability of and access of member states to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments by 2030
- To form strategic partnerships to jointly mobilise funds, build and/or strengthen capacities of member states to adopt a networked approach in operationalising contextually relevant DRR strategies and action plans
In conclusion, the AUC is committed to working with all stakeholders in providing technical and policy support to create enabling conditions for more member states to be able to adopt a more integrated and systemic approach to DRR since the dynamism, frequency and magnitude of disasters caused by natural and anthropogenic hazards are predicted to likely increase.