Governments in sub-Saharan Africa have been urged to let their commitment to the Sandai Framework reflect in policies they roll out at the national, regional and local levels.
The continent has also been reminded of worrying revelations in the 2019 global assessment report and the need for the world to work towards creating sustainable pathways for a more resilient future.
The call comes at a time the world is experiencing troubling climate crisis including the recording of the highest temperature rise of the world’s greatest fountain of ice, Antarctica.
The call by the African office of the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction office also comes a decade clear before the expiration of the Sandai framework which seeks to get governments to build the resilience of nations and communities to disaster.
As emission levels which are being fuelled by the continued burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests show no sign of slowing down, the African office of United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction is on a mission to partner African governments to avoid firefighting approach of disaster management by embracing and implementing the Sandai Framework.
Even though nations are not legally bound by the 15-year UN-backed Sandai Framework, it has influenced disaster-related policies across the African continent according to the African office of the UNDRR.
Those are little steps that can guide the world to mitigate the climate crisis.
But, if the world is to win the war against global warming and climate change, the last thing expected is unilateralism and demoralizing gesture like President Donald Trump’s declaration of exiting the Paris accord on June 1, 2017.
That policy shift and declaration by arguably the most powerful president in the world was criticized and described by environmentalists as a dangerous gesture that could potentially put the world in harm’s way.
But the Africa office of United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction says it is ready to work with nations that have identified the risks and potential threats of climate change and global warming, and are ready to confront them.
In an interview at Mombasa Kenya, Julius Kabube who is in charge of policy coordination at the regional office of UNDRR said, “the global assessment report comes with scary messages because one thing it has identified is that what we knew is not enough and that we have to change tactics.”
Mr Kabube added: “we must begin to think outside the box and go to the local level with risk-informed planning such that those surprises that are happening so rapidly are not coming as shock to us.”
A good number of African countries are taking steps to implement the Sandai Framework but some countries are doing better than others. A Senior Disaster Management Officer of the Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda, Pamela Komujuni Kalule observed.
“Target of the Sandai Framework is very important because if you do not put measures and strategies in place to build resilient communities, it becomes very difficult and whatever interventions you engage in are sort of ad hoc.”
Madam Komujuni Kalule also called on African countries to let their commitment to the Sandai Framework reflect in their national and local policies.
“I would really strongly encourage governments to work on putting in policies, strategies, and legislation for disaster risk reduction and management.”
With Antarctica recording a 65% degrees temperature, its warmest temperature ever recorded yet, and January 2020 also being the warmest on record for the month of January, there is no denying the harsh reality that sea levels will continue to rise, increasing the disaster risk level particularly among vulnerable communities.
It may be an uphill task but coastal communities in Ghana and other African countries that have been bearing the brunt of tidal waves and violent sea tide can begin by nursing and nurturing their own mangroves to create a buffer between them and the sea that has been projected by scientists to continue to rise.