Balaclava, Mauritius – 26 November. The meeting of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers responsible for Disaster Risk Management held the 26th November 2016 has adopted the SADC Regional Disaster Preparedness and Response Strategy which is expected to enhance coordinated interventions to disasters in the region.
The meeting was officially opened by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs for South Africa, Honourable Mr. David Douglas Van Rooyen and Deputy Chairperson of SADC, emphasizing the importance of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the region which has been severely hit by the El Niňo-induced drought since 2014. He noted that the severity of extreme weather conditions had overwhelmed the disaster preparedness capacity in all affected Member States, urging SADC to invest in actions that would accelerate the achievement of sustainable resilience to disasters.
In his welcome address, the Minister of Civil Service, Administrative Reforms, Environment and Sustainable Development, and Disaster and Beach Management of Mauritius, Honourable Alain Wong Yen Cheong referred that it was an honour for the Government of Mauritius to partner with the SADC Secretariat in hosting of a strategic meeting to deliberate upon a very critical policy framework for the region. He also noted that the DRR Strategy and Fund would be “anchored in the culture of prevention, safety and resilience building and it is our hope that social economic, cultural and natural capitals of SADC countries will be protected”.
Speaking on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Director of the Organ at SADC, Mr. Jorge C. Cardoso stressed that in coming up with a Disaster and Preparedness Strategy and Fund, SADC had achieved substantial progress in view of aligning its DRR policies with the recently adopted Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction for 2015-2030. This, he added, demonstrated commitment to the critical importance of DRR to SADC citizens, countries and the region at large.
Ministers noted that the goals of the Strategy and Fund were consistent with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), which emphasizes strong institutional arrangements to support DRR, preparedness and response. The Strategy is also in line with international humanitarian principles, resilience principles, and minimum standards for Preparedness Actions, with respect to disaster assessments, response planning and coordination, information management, resource mobilization and capacity development.
Ministers also noted that there were inadequate funds set aside at the regional level to coordinate disaster risk reduction issues, including responses to disasters. In view of that, Ministers deferred the decision on the establishment of a DRR Fund to a joint meeting of Ministers Responsible for Finance and Disaster Risk Management to be convened in March, 2017.
The SADC Ministerial meeting was held subsequent to the 6th session of the Africa Regional Platform and 5th High Level Meeting of African Minister responsible for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) which was convened on the 25th of November 2016 in Balaclava, Mauritius.