Reducing disaster risk in the Horn of Africa

22 Jan 2014

We continue our portfolio of work on disaster risk reduction by facilitating a regional discussion in Nairobi for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The meeting will discuss the enhanced use of technology to mitigate disaster risk in the Horn of Africa.

Strengthening technological capacities and information access for improving disaster risk reduction in the Horn of Africa

Wednesday 22 – Thursday 23 January 2014 (WP1283)

This week, we are helping to facilitate an important discussion in East Africa concerning regional approaches to the mitigation of natural hazards and the prevention of natural disasters.

As the frequency and intensity of natural hazards (eg flooding, drought and earthquakes) in the Horn of Africa increase, so too does the risk to the human life, economic prosperity and the environment.

Convened by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)  in partnership with UNITAR/UNOSAT and with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the meeting will facilitate a dialogue between countries in the Horn of Africa (including IGAD Member States) about the use of technological applications and information, and access to it, to strengthen overall capacity for disaster response in the region. It will explore how technology can play a greater role in informing policy, based on rigorous information and relevant evidence.

The meeting was opened by a high level group of keynote speakers including Professor Laban A Ogallo (Director, IGAD Climate Predictions and Applications Center, ICPAC), Dr Einar Bjørgo (Manager, UNOSAT), HE Eng Ambassador Mr Mahboub Maalim (Executive Secretary, IGAD), Ms Hilde Solbakken (Royal Norwegian Embassy, Nairobi), Dr Wilbur Ottichilo (Member of Parliament for Emu

A speech by Professor Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Kenya was given by her Director of Administration, David Jakaiti.

This meeting continues our work on disaster risk reduction in partnership with the Norwegian MFA. In November 2013, we facilitated a discussion in Bangkok in partnership with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) concerning mitigating flood risk in urban areas downstream from river deltas in South and Southeast Asia. This conference found that states and municipal organisations in the region need to take a long term view of the challenges posed by flood risk, as enhancing resilience to flooding will require the creation of individually tailored solutions to suit their distinct water management challenges and investment over many years. Further insights can be found in the conference report.

Earlier in 2013, we convened a meeting to explore how scientific and technological applications to disaster risk reduction might be leveraged for enhanced impact. Governments, international organisations and NGOs all use the outputs from science and technology in their work to mitigate the risks posed by natural hazards, and to help plan responses to natural disasters when these occur. The conference (which involved participation from officials from governments and international organisations, practical experts working in non-government organisations and charities, and academic experts) found that more can be done to ensure that the outputs of scientific and technological insight to the state of natural hazards are communicated appropriately to at-risk communities and the organisations working to protect vulnerable people from natural disasters. For further information, see the conference report .

Further information

Conference: Strengthening technological capacities and information access for improving disaster risk reduction in the Horn of Africa

Conference: Challenges in flood risk management 

Conference: Building global resilience to natural hazards

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