The Africa Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction ends Friday 19 November 2021 in Nairobi, Kenya; and Gatkuoth Kai, technical coordinator for the African Union Commission – AUC, reckons the continent now faces more complex challenges than it ever has in recent decades.
“The past four or five regional platforms have all happened in the midst of prolonged droughts and in some cases floods,” he said, adding that in retrospect, all that seems very normal compared to the current situation.
“We are still suffering the effects of COVID-19, desert locusts, conflict in some places and now severe drought,” he added.
Kai however noted that there were also positives coming from the conference, particularly a consensus on a systemic approach to risk reduction.
“The issue of systemic risk is now very prominent,” he said, adding that “there is a realization that we cannot address risk singularly; we need to look at them as complex systems in a multidimensional manner.”
The Africa Regional Platform will adopt the Africa position to the global platform which will be held next year in Indonesia, and Kai said that Africa is taking a simple message to the world; that “nationalism cannot be applied in dealing with crises” explaining that the COVID pandemic has demonstrated that closing borders do not end a crisis.
Also present in Nairobi for the ministerial session of the regional platform is Peter Mayen Majongdit, South Sudanese minister for humanitarian affairs and disaster management. He said Africa’s youngest nation brings to the deliberations the approach of risk-informed development.
For a nation that has suffered multiple crises and with insufficient resources to keep up with the resultant humanitarian needs, their goal is to integrate disaster risk reduction into every development initiative. This not only helps the country build resilience to disaster but also to apply limited resources in a more efficient manner.
“Most projects we are doing whether in regards to livelihood, health or humanitarian response, are all geared towards resilience projects,” he said.
Mr Mayen called on governments to find a balance in development expenditure to ensure ongoing and future development is protected.
You cannot move to develop a country whose citizens are in need of humanitarian assistance. So, what you do is that as you give humanitarian assistance you also get permanent solutions while ensuring that they are resilient.
Watch parts of their interviews here: