Africa Forum Focuses on Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction into Development

Participants at the Maputo 5th Leadership Development Forum
Participants at the 5th Leadership Development Forum

Representatives from four African countries convened in Mozambique’s capital Maputo from August 26 to 28 for a south-south Leadership Development Forum on climate change and disaster risk reduction (DRR). The aim of this forum was to dialogue on how best to mainstream DRR and climate change into development.

The initiative, entitled MADRiD, or Mainstreaming Adaptation and Disaster Reduction into Development, brought together government representatives and technical experts from DRR focal ministries, other sector ministries, and research and training institutes from select Southern African countries, including Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Highlights

  • The aim of this forum was to dialogue on how best to mainstream DRR and climate change into development
  • Expected outcomes of the forum include increased political commitment, better access and sharing of technical resources, greater cooperation and exchange amongst countries, and strengthened national advocacy for disaster and climate resilient development.
  • African countries have made immense strides in strengthening disaster risk reduction during the last decade, with flood-prone Mozambique in particular emerging as a leader in DRR

Forum outcomes also included: increased awareness of disaster and climate resilient development, including links between DRR, adaptation and the wider development context; a better understanding of the conceptual and operational underpinnings of development planning and budgetary processes that integrate both disaster and climate risks, including mainstreaming approaches; improved knowledge of technical resources for advancing risk reduction and adaptation in development planning.

These also included an increased comprehension of global systems and mechanisms, such as the Hyogo Framework for Action, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and ongoing negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and the ability to generate and share knowledge on integrated approaches to disaster and climate resilient development through lessons learned and best practices.

MADRiD was established in 2012 by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) with the support of South Korea. UNDP joined as co-organizer later that same year. The Maputo session is the 5th Leadership Development Forum and is specifically focused on sub-regional leadership development in southern Africa. Expected outcomes of the forum include increased political commitment, better access and sharing of technical resources, greater cooperation and exchange amongst countries, and strengthened national advocacy for disaster and climate resilient development.

Willing to share its experience with neighboring countries and interested in learning from them, the Government of Mozambique offered to host this Leadership Development Forum in Maputo. With the support of a range of partners, including the SADC, the Government of South Korea, the City of Inchon, UNDP, UNISDR, UNHABITAT and UNOPS, the forum aims to strengthen regional initiatives and encourage political support for mainstreaming.

Angelika Planitz, UNDP’s Global Lead for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support notes that DRR/CCA mainstreaming is a continuous processes that constantly evolves as the awareness of risks in a society improves and new opportunities arise to push forward this agenda through policy, legislative and institutional reforms.

“Even the most advanced countries around the world are regularly reminded by disasters that they still have a long way to go in order to risk-inform their development and build resilient societies,” notes Planitz. “The Leadership Forum is an opportunity for regional countries to share their lessons and capacities. As the flooding in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in February demonstrated, disasters are often regional events and tightened bonds between countries will make preparing for disasters, as well as reducing risks in advance, that much more effective.”

African countries have made immense strides in strengthening disaster risk reduction during the last decade, with flood-prone Mozambique in particular emerging as a leader in DRR. UNDP has worked with Mozambique over the last two decades and has supported the country as it has undertaken massive institutional and policy overhauls to revamp and enhance its disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation capacity.

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