Africa and Europe share Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) experiences

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Disaster risk managers from Africa have been participating in a five-day study tour in Europe this week organised by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and CIMA Research Foundation, a non-profit research organization founded by the Italian Civil Protection Department.

Participants come from the disaster management agencies of Angola, Ethiopia, United Republic of Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zambia accompanied by experts from the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the Africa Union Commission.

The study tour included visits to civil protection facilities in Brussels, Rome and Genoa and is focussed on impact based Early Warning Systems, preparedness and emergency response, roles and responsibilities.

Sharing his thoughts on the study tour, Mr. Gatkouth Kai Bol Kai, of the African Union Commission stated: “This experience means a lot to us, because we want to learn from different systems in Europe. We have seen the level of sophistication that exists in European countries and the complexity of the systems, and how they are made operable and effective. We want to understand how to adapt this to our situation. Our role is to understand how to develop and establish these systems where they are not present yet. There is also another important aspect to consider: in fact, sharing experiences allows us to avoid mistakes”.

It included a three – day training at CIMA Headquarters in Savona, Italy, focusing on risk modelling, use of datasets for characterizing exposure and vulnerability, and the development of risk metrics according to countries' needs. Experts will also be engaged in the process of validating the new risk profiles being currently developed by CIMA researchers with data provided by countries' national institutions.

Mr. Sebhatu Kidane Keflemariam from IGAD added his sentiments on the expected outcome of the tour, “We want to learn how other countries operate. Sharing experiences allows us to understand how to link this knowledge with our needs in Africa. Of course, our problems can be different: not floods but drought, for example. Anyway, the most important point is in understanding how to assess a situation from available information and how to use this analysis: that's what we want to understand”.

This is part of the Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP)-EU Programme “Building Disaster Resilience to Natural Hazards in Sub-Saharan African Regions, Countries and Communities” funded by the European Union. The programme is designed to share experience and accelerate Implementation of the global plan to reduce disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

According to Mr. Luca Rossi, Deputy Chief of UNDRR Office for Africa: “We hope this opportunity of sharing experiences between countries and continents will be enriching and that will help us to identify the next steps for a more prepared, resilient and sustainable Africa”.

A key target of the Sendai Framework calls for the substantial enhancement of international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to the implementation of their local and national strategies for disaster risk reduction.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

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