Italy and partners handover Situation Room to African Union Commission
On 28 February 2022, the official handover ceremony for the Africa Multi-hazard Early Warning and Early Action System (AMHEWAS) Situation Room for Disaster Risk Reduction took place. The ceremony was held at the African Union Commission (AUC) headquarters in Addis Ababa Ethiopia with H.E. Marina Sereni, Vice Minister of Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, H.E. Fathallah Sijilmassi Ambassador, Director General of the African Union Commission, and H.E. Hermann Immongault, Ambassador of Gabon to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union.
The AMHEWAS Situation Room established at the AUC is an extension of the ones established at the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) and at the Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the context of the continental Programme “strengthening early warning systems and transboundary risk management in Africa”.
The initiative financed through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) for US$ 5.5 million to implement the component of the Africa Road Map that strengthens continental, regional and national capacities to collect, exchange and analyze data relevant to multi-disaster and impact-based early warning systems and cross-border disaster risk management in Africa. The project is coordinated by UNDRR and it is implemented in cooperation with the AUC, IGAD, ACMAD, and Member States at the continental, regional and national level and relies on the technical assistance provided by the CIMA Research Foundation, to benefit all African countries.
H.E. Marina Sereni remarked how “We need to move from managing disasters to managing risks, multi-hazard Early Warning Systems are a central component to that shift.” In this context the Vice Minister recalled that the Government of Italy for the period 2021-2022 has already contributed to the implementation of the Africa Road Map with US$9 Million and confirmed that “Italy is ready to continue to cooperate on these initiatives in Africa”
H.E. Fathallah Sijilmassi said “This networked approach helps in quickly informing decision-makers and international communities on potential and actual impact of the disaster, as well as in mobilisation of resources needed to respond and recover from the disasters.”
H.E. Hermann Immongault, Ambassador of Gabon who is the Permanent Representative to the African Union, and Chairperson of the African Union Permanent Representative Council (PRC) Sub-Committee on Environmental Matters called on Member States of the African Union to support the Africa Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Early Action Programme by ensuring the timely sharing and exchange of relevant disaster data.
Emilio Ciarlo, the AICS Director of External Relations and Communication, asserted that “this is an important contribution to collect meteorological and climatological data, monitor the territory and structurally improve disaster risk prevention. Italy shares with Africa, a twin continent, the Italian experience of listening and knowing the territory, based on cutting-edge technologies and relationships with communities. In a nutshell, we share with Africa the Italian experience of which AICS is proud of and will continue to invest in.”
Luca Rossi, Deputy Chief UNDRR Regional Office for Africa, on this milestone said “the situation room fulfills the calls of African stakeholders for the AUC to establish a continental system for multi-hazard, impact-based and inclusive early warning and preparedness for natural hazards, and is in line with the Nairobi Declaration of the Seventh High-Level Meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction. It showcases the AUC’s strong leadership as a key partner to UNDRR to achieve Agenda 2063: “The Africa We Want”.