Early Warnings for All gains momentum in Kenya
Mami Mizutori, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG), and head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDDR) recently made a visit to Nairobi, Kenya. The trip was a part of UNDRR's ongoing efforts to enhance the capacity of countries to manage and reduce disaster risks.
During her visit to Kenya, the SRSG met with various stakeholders including government, intergovernmental, donors, academic institutions, university students, civil society organizations, and other UN agencies to promote a comprehensive and inclusive approach to DRR and enhance the close linkage between Early Warning Systems and Early and Anticipatory Action in Africa.
This included a visit to the Kenya Space Agency (KSA), which is a supporting entity to MCR2030. The KSA offers services towards early warning- early action, weather, climate, and vulnerability mapping that can support DRR.
At the KSA, the SRSG joined Ag. Director General, Brigadier Kipkosgey, for a presentation and demonstration on how the KSA is using Earth Observation for DRR activities. This visit follows the successful launch of the Taifa 1, Kenya's first operational Earth Observation satellite in April 2023.
One of the key topics discussed during the visit was the importance of science and research in disaster risk management. On top of her visit to KSA, she paid visits to the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) and the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) to see the important work to strengthen disaster resilience across the region. The ICPAC visit to the Disaster Operations Centre included delegations from UN OCHA, the European Union, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperations (AICS), and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
RCMRD, ICPAC, and KSA are all vital technical stakeholders in the Africa Network of Centres of Excellence, an ongoing initiative funded by the Government of Italy. The network brings together institutions to collaboratively develop, deliver, and share customized tools, services, products, and training on Disaster Risk Management; guided by user needs in Africa. The network is one of the efforts by UNDRR towards the Early Warnings for All intiative. The network is bringing together African experts to develop user-driven impact-based early warning systems that can trigger actions on the ground leading to ownership and sustainability of the systems for the benefit of all.
“Italy values the strong partnership with UNDRR and prizes the methodological approach based on inclusivity and partnership. It aims at enhancing existing capacity established by previous investments and granting ownership by local partners. Italy is committed to further supporting this initiative in Africa and beyond, utilizing the same approach.” Mr. Giovanni Grandi, Head of Office for the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).
At the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), the SRSG provided a lecture to staff and students with the Embassy of Italy.
“Italy is a disaster-prone country, exposed to flood, landslides, tsunami, seismic, volcanic, technological, and industrial; and, of course, pandemics. Cohabitating all these risks, Italy has become one of the most effective civil protection systems in Europe and beyond. At its core is the strong linkage between applied science and institutions. Italy, therefore, welcomes the UNDRR approach of fostering a science-informed approach to disaster risk reduction and supports the UNDRRs efforts financially and through facilitating the exchange of knowledge and experience.” Giacomo Montemarani, the First Secretary and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Nairobi.
University students and lecturers in the field of GIS application for DRR, Climate Change, and Early Warning Systems gathered to discuss the implementation of the Sendai Framework in Africa and the Early Warning for All Initiative. During the lecture, the SRSG advocated for everyone to be involved in DRR and partner for change.
“In partnerships, the Sendai Framework for DRR is everyone’s business and implementation must be done with an all of society approach. Not only national governments but private sector, local governments, media, and citizens, for resilient societies.” Mami Mizutori, UNDRR SRSG