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Dr Marco Massabo (seated 2nd from left), Programme Coordinator at the CIMA Foundation, with other participants in the disaster preparedness workshop in Accra
Dr Marco Massabo (seated 2nd from left), Programme Coordinator at the CIMA Foundation, with other participants in the disaster preparedness workshop in Accra

7 African countries build capacity on disaster preparedness

Seven African countries are working towards developing local institutional capacity to build resilience and promote disaster preparedness.

In line with that, experts from the participating countries converged on Accra for a workshop on approaches to early warning and anticipatory actions for predictable extreme events.

The participants were drawn from Ghana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, Madagascar and Italy.

They would serve as trainers for other stakeholders in disaster risk prevention and management.

The workshop followed the launch of an "Early Warnings for All" (EWA) initiative by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in 2022, to help countries build institutional resilience to deal with disasters.

The initiative seeks to ensure that the earth was protected from hazardous weather, water or climate events through life-saving early warning systems by the end of 2027.

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Collaborators

The five-day workshop was hosted by the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), in partnership with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and Network of Centres of Excellence (NoE).

The other partners were the CIMA Research Foundation, Stellenbosch University, Disaster Risk Management, Sustainability and Urban Resilience (DIMSUR), PERI PERI U, the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), the West African Science Service Centre of Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), and the Government of Italy.

Disaster preparedness

The Executive Director of WASCAL, Dr Moumini Savadogo, urged the participants to strive and become agents of change.

He underscored the need for countries to put systems in place to help identify signs of disasters for prompt action.

Dr Savadogo said the issue of disaster risk had become critical in the face of the increasing frequency and impact of hazards experienced by victims.

The programme coordinator at the CIMA Foundation, Dr Marco Massabo, also said that the workshop would help the participants understand the concepts and explore the approaches for early warning systems.

He added that they would also acquire relevant knowledge on disaster risk financing, harnessing climate risk data, data harmonisation and management, as well as participatory planning as a tool to improve anticipatory actions.

Background

The NoE initiative works across the continent to create a network for enhanced engagement and collaboration among stakeholders such as members of academia, development practitioners and scientists in the field of disaster risk reduction, early warning, anticipatory action and disaster preparedness.

It aims to draw on their expertise to develop and strengthen institutional capacity across national, regional and continental levels to collect, exchange and analyse data to inform multi-hazard and impact-based early warning systems.

The initiative also provides guidance to disaster risk affiliated authorities to implement anticipatory actions.

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