Mr. Prosper Bani, a former Head of the United Nations Development Programme Crisis Prevention and Recovery Team for Africa, has urged African leaders to invest in Disaster Risk Prevention and Management to ready the continent to respond to unpredicted crises.
Africa’s development, he said, was being challenged by the lack of a strategy to link disaster risk reduction to development initiatives.
“The plans must articulate clearly what the problems are and how they would be addressed. It should reflect a verifiable budget and expenditure plan; and awareness-raising to bring along the citizens to become conscious and aware of their responsibilities in the fight to reduce the spread”.
Mr Bani, who served as a Chief of Staff under the John Mahama administration, said this in a statement he issued, and copied, to the Ghana News Agency, in Accra.
He pointed out that the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction in July 2004 emphasised the importance of policymakers to look at strengthening institutional frameworks, risk identification, knowledge management, governance and emergency response and demanded political commitment to addressing comprehensive policies on disaster risk reduction as part of development plans.
Mr Bani said the lack of commitments to these posed a major challenge to most African countries.
He stated that the absence of preventive infrastructure had caused significant challenges to the development efforts of most African countries.
This, he explained, had manifested in prolonged droughts, devastating floods, uncontrolled bushfires, landslides, tropical cyclones, volcanic eruptions, health epidemics, pandemics such as Ebola and the new coronavirus, affecting sustainable development.
“There is evidence that the world, and Africa in particular, has been inundated with Protocols, Action Plans, Guidelines, and numerous international agreements on disaster risk reduction, and in particular how to reduce the risk and impact of disasters,” he however noted.
“The latest has been the development of an Action Plan for Africa following the Sendai Framework of 2015, which was finalised in 2016.
“African leaders must invest in the implementation of the Action Plan, which could mitigate the impact on the economies of member states during this Coronavirus pandemic”.