Island States in Africa unite to reinforce DRR through European Union-Indian Ocean Commission Programme
The Resilience Building and Disaster Response Management in the Indian Ocean (RDRM-IO) programme UNDRR component was launched on 22 March 2022. The objective of the UNDRR component is to improve Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) understanding and governance capacities of the island states of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles through activities that aim at improving the national institutional and operational preparedness for disasters. In doing so, the programme will support the countries to assess and develop national policies and regulatory frameworks on DRR. The RDRM-IO is co-funded by the European Union (EU) in partnership with the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and implemented by the IOC, PIROI and UNDRR.
“Indian Ocean Island States are particularly exposed to disaster risks and the adverse impact of climate change. The current 2021-2022 cyclone season has seen at least three major tropical storms and cyclones (ANA, BATSIRAI, EMNATI). They provide yet another example of the impacts that disasters can have on countries. The RDRM-IO programme will be critical as it aims to “reduce disaster and climate related losses in the human, economic, social, physical and environmental assets” said Mr. Amjad Abbashar, Chief, UNDRR Regional Office for Africa.
Mr. Massimiliano Messi, Team leader, EU Delegation in Mauritius said “Our programme with the IOC, is in our view a first step towards supporting the region in building its capacities and gradually constructing interventions that are more ambitious. Disaster risk management is becoming increasingly important in national and regional policies, as well for the political agenda and cooperation activities of the EU.”
“I’m grateful that meteorological services and representatives from Ministries of Finance joined the conversation today. This underlines the need to look at disasters from a broader and all-inclusive perspective if we are to strengthen capacities and put in place the means to prevent risks.” Ms. Gina Bonne underlined the need for countries’ engagement at national and regional levels and to share skills, knowledge, and resources to prevent and mitigate disasters.
The second half of the launch was an interactive session where Member States provided updates on the status of their national DRR structures and strategies. To date, almost all of the countries have validated and are implementing national DRR strategies that are aligned to the Sendai Framework (Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles); Comoros is also making progress on developing a national DRR strategy with support from UNDRR.
Member States and partners also participated in group activities to foster peer exchanges related to the development of DRR Action Plans and to define implementation modalities with Member States and partners. Key stakeholders identified were National Disaster Management Authorities, meteorological offices, ministries of finance, UN Resident Coordinators Offices, PIROI and the IOC. During the kick-off, there was great emphasis on moving towards the implementation of these strategies, which this programme will contribute to.