The Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Africa Risk Capacity (ARC), on 3rd October, 2019 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which lays the foundation for collaboration on matters of common interest related to disaster risk and financing for disaster management.
The SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax and ARC Director General, Mr. Mohamed Beavogui, signed the MoU on behalf of SADC and the ARC respectively. The ARC is Specialised Agency of the African Union (AU) established to assist Member States improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters, therefore ensuring food security of their vulnerable populations.
Speaking during the event, the Director General of ARC, Mr. Mohamed Beavogui, said he was delighted with the signing of the MoU and called for SADC’s support to strengthen the participation of SADC Member States in the ARC mechanism. Mr. Mohamed Beavogui, stated that the partnership between SADC and ARC will enable the two parties to systematically work together to better profile disaster risks facing the region, strengthen existing response capacities and contingency plans, and offer sovereign insurance options to enable rapid action when natural disasters occur.
The ARC Director General added that, at present, the ARC has 33 Member States, with over 10 countries having had taken out sovereign level insurance against drought in the last 5 drought risk pools since 2015. In these pools, he said, ARC has transferred over US$600 million worth of risk to the international risk insurance market, and has had insurance pay-outs of over $60 million pay-outs to African Union Member States to date.
In her remarks, H.E. Dr Tax expressed appreciation to the Africa Risk Capacity for collaborating with SADC in building disaster resilience in the region, culminating into the signing of the MOU, which sets the region on a path to expanding its existing response mechanism against drought and other climate risks.
The Executive Secretary indicated that the recent occurrence of Cyclone Idai and Kenneth, which affected some SADC Member States has increased the need for a comprehensive and integrated regional approach towards disaster risk reduction and mitigation of all forms of negative impacts resulting from increasing climate variability.
Under the Agreement, SADC and ARC will, among others, collaborate on;
The two parties called for the speedy finalisation and roll out of the costed Action Plan to implement the MoU so that the SADC region can start to benefit from the agreement.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration, Dr Thembinkosi Mhlongo, Legal Counsel Ms. Nthabiseng Liphapang, Senior Programme Officer for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms Sithembiso Gina and ARC Country Engagement Manager for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region, Mr. Timothy Gotora.