Photo: A landscape in the Serengeti national park, Tanzania. Credit: iStock. Source: ACP-EU NDRR Activity Report 2017-2018. - Photo: 2018

EU-ACP Initiative Leads to Natural Disaster Risk Reduction

By Reinhard Jacobsen

BRUSSELS (ACP-IDN) – The African, Caribbean and Pacific-European Union Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program (ACP-EU NDRR) launched in 2011 has worked to build climate and disaster resilience in ACP countries, where the impacts of climate change are increasingly visible, says a new report.

The Program is an initiative of the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Group of States, in partnership with the European Union (EU), and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).

According to the Activity Report 2017-2018 for Fiscal Year 18 (1 July 2017-30 June 2018), development stakeholders, governments, and civil society organizations have become increasingly aware of the importance of partnerships in meeting these challenges.

In the Foreword to the report, Ambassador Léonard-Emile Ognimba, the ACP Assistant Secretary General, Political Affairs and Human Development Department, says: “The need to integrate disaster risk management into the global development agenda has never been greater.”

In the past year, the disaster events that hit countries around the world – such as the devastating hurricanes Maria and Irma that made landfall in the Caribbean, Tropical Cyclone Gita that hit Tonga, mudslides in Sierra Leone – wiped out significant portions of countries’ GDPs and particularly affected the poor and the most vulnerable groups.

The activity report highlights the efforts of the ACP-EU NDRR Program in FY18 to prevent, mitigate and prepare for natural hazards at the regional, sub-regional, national and local levels in ACP countries.

“Whether natural hazards turn into disasters depends only in part on the natural event itself. In most of the affected area, the risks posed by hazards is influenced by other factors such as the exposure and vulnerability of a country’s infrastructure and economy, the level of risk prevention, its preparedness and its coping capacity. In addition, a country’s adaptive capacity to a changing climate will influence the emergence of future risks,” says the Foreword.

Its co-authors are: Felice Zaccheo, Head of Unit for Sustainable Energy and Climate Change, DG DEVCO, European Commission, and Julie Dana, Head of Secretariat, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.

Continued high demand from stakeholders in FY18 resulted in 40 active projects in 28 countries, bringing the program portfolio to 100+ projects supporting more than 50 countries in total, adds the Foreword. An increased number of projects supported urban resilience in Africa, enhanced disaster risk finance in the Caribbean, and hazard risk assessments in the Pacific, meeting specific needs and demands in those regions.

According to the activity report, in Africa, twelve country-level projects were active in FY18. In response to country demands, the Program supported an increasing number of urban resilience projects. Support was also provided to projects integrating Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) into development planning, and to projects assessing disaster risk, and improving climate services. The Program also supported two Post-Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNA), one in Somalia and one in Sierra Leone.

In the Caribbean, eleven country-level projects were active in FY18. These activities showed the ongoing shift in focus from post-disaster interventions to pro-active DRM. Projects accelerated work on disaster risk financing and helped countries to identify the risks natural hazards pose to key infrastructures, and investments which can address these risks.

Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the ACP-EU NDRR Program supported two post-disaster assessments, one in Antigua and Barbuda and one in Dominica, and supported resilient reconstruction in Dominica.

In the Pacific, three regional projects and six country-level projects were active in FY18. These projects assisted countries to assess climate and disaster risks, and supported institutional strengthening for DRM. The ACP-EU NDRR Program supported one post-disaster assessment in Tonga.

Two All-ACP projects were supported, to enable the third meeting of the Small Island States Resilience Initiative in May 2018 and to roll out a Disaster Recovery Framework Guide in all ACP countries.

Projects implemented by the ACP-EU NDRR Program have resulted in significant additional investments in DRM, notes the report. Since 2011, the Program has leveraged nearly $2 billion through co-financing, through enabling in leveraging, and through informing in leveraging. In FY18, four new cases of enabling in leveraging, and eight new cases of informing in leveraging were identified.

The achievements of the Program in FY18 were underpinned by the partnership between the ACP Group of States, the EU, and GFDRR. “Going forward, these partners will continue to work together through the ACP-EU NDRR Program to provide technical assistance, build in-country capacity, and leverage investments to upscale disaster risk management,” notes the activity report.

The achievements are: 30 out of 79 ACP countries have integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in the national planning process; and 20 countries have developed risk tools to guide vulnerability reduction and emergency preparedness.

Besides, three river basins have enhanced their flood risk management capacity; six sub-regional lead institutions have functioning Disaster Risk Reduction capacity; 20 countries have access to operational Early Warning systems for natural disasters; and 15 countries have developed risk financing and insurance strategies.

In addition, 20 countries have developed national capacity for Post Disaster Needs Assessments; 15 countries have undertaken multi-stakeholder assessments and recovery planning; and five countries have effectively implemented Disaster Risk Reduction in the recovery phase.

Since 2011, a dedicated GFDRR team has been located in Brussels, to better support the implementation of the ACP- EU NDRR Program and to ensure day-to-day coordination with the EU and the ACP Secretariat and other partners.

Once a project is endorsed, GFDRR ensures the management of the funds and implementation of activities, embeds the activity within the broader World Bank engagement in the country, and works with the grantee on contracting and further administrative arrangements.

A Steering Committee – consisting of representatives from the European Commission, the ACP Secretariat, and the World Bank – meets twice a year to review progress, provide advice and guidance, and address needs arising from project implementation. During the meeting, the overall portfolio, financial overview, and status of the monitoring framework is presented.

The ACP Secretariat hosted in collaboration with the European Commission the Fall Meeting of the Consultative Group  of the GFDR in Brussels from November 7 to 8, 2018.  

ACP Assistant Secretary General Ognimba, in his opening remarks at the Consultative Group meeting, said: “The top priority for the group remains a pro-active approach to the management of natural disasters and the associated risks, the promotion of programs leading to Resilient Recovery, and a bottoms-up approach which will give a voice to the voiceless and empower the most vulnerable members of our societies.”

The Consultative Group Meeting was followed by The Knowledge Partnership Day on November 8 and the ACP Focus Day on November 9, which provided platforms for participants to share their perspectives on efforts to enhance resilience at the local levels.

The Knowledge Partnership Day connected key partners and stakeholders such as ACP government officials, the European Union and international donors, regional organisations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).The discussions highlighted challenges and proposed solutions on inclusive risk governance.

Innovative projects and approaches throughout the ACP Group were showcased, and lessons learned were shared as part of the strategy to increase the efficiency of disaster risk management and climate change adaptation projects in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific regions. 

The ACP Focus Day, which centred on ‘Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation in ACP Countries’, emphasised some salient features of the ACP-EU NDRR Program.

It also provided an opportunity to take stock of over a hundred projects in its portfolio, to identify challenges and opportunities, facilitated an exchange on experiences between country-level and regional projects, and provided implementing partners, such as NGOs and African Regional Economic Communities, the opportunity to share their experiences. [IDN-InDepthNews – 21 November 2018]

Photo: A landscape in the Serengeti national park, Tanzania. Credit: iStock. Source: ACP-EU NDRR Activity Report 2017-2018.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. –

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