Experts in disaster management, mitigation and climate change in eastern and southern Africa want COMESA to finalize expeditiously the regional climate resilience framework and hold a validation meeting with all Member States.
In a meeting last week in Chisamba, Zambia, the experts, comprising of Senior government officials representing 13 COMESA countries, pledged to work together to strengthen their policy and coordination mechanisms. This is in line with the COMESA regional climate resilience framework.
They also agreed to use the framework as a guide to strengthen their national policies in handling issues brought about by climate change.
According to a status report presented at the meeting, most COMESA countries are vulnerable and face similar threats of climate change and droughts, flooding, industrial shocks, extreme rainfall and disease outbreaks, wars and civil unrest among others.
In view of this, COMESA Secretariat through the Climate Change Unit organized the two-day meeting with the officials from ministries responsible for planning, agriculture, environment, health, disaster management and mitigation to discuss the current status in the region and map the way forward.
Some of the topics covered in the meeting included: introduction to resilience and risk, the benefits/dividends of resilience, insuring against risks, case studies from the African continent, the essentials of an effective early warning system, disaster preparedness, preventive and corrective response measures, policy requirements to promote resilience and financing resilience at the national level.
Among the key recommendations was the need for COMESA to organise regional platforms for experience-sharing in preparedness for disasters (including Early Warning Systems) and success stories in mitigation disasters.
“COMESA should convene a pre-COP 25 meeting to prepare the region for effective participation in climate change negotiations especially in areas of climate change adaptation, loss and damage due to climate change,” the delegated stated in their final report.
In addition, they requested for COMESA support Member States to develop market-led resilience initiatives that are linked to Climate Smart Agriculture initiatives and weather index insurance.
Representatives from the African Union Commission (AUC), the East African Community (EAC), the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and ARC attended the meeting.