In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), there are still significant communication gaps between climate information producers and the communities at risk. A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Science highlights the urgent need for bridges to be established to connect policymakers, representatives, experts on climate and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and local communities.
Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world and, despite improvements in prediction, the region still fails to create early action and mitigate impacts on society. As the negative effects of climate change and El Nino continue to increase, there will be an even greater call for a quick response and greater DRR efforts. Disasters such as droughts and floods have already become more frequent with bigger consequences. Increased exposure to events as well as weak Disaster Risk management capacities lead to consequences for food security and health as well as less successful poverty reduction and slowed development leading to displacement, death and malnutrition.
Currently, most of the climate information to predict risks in SSA is managed in international and foreign centres. There is a lack of up-to-date technologies within Africa as well as a shortage of expertise which is slowing down the practice and implication of DRR within the continent. There is a lack of communication within communities. Often the complex terminology and lack of understanding among farmers and locals can cause a lack of trust and therefore reduces the effectiveness of DRR efforts. Even at the government scale, there is a lshortage of planning and preparedness for when a disaster strikes and governments often rely on international organizations to recover from natural hazards when they occur.
Overall, governments are not harnessing the potential of climate information. There needs to be an initiative of concrete action and policy to meet the needs of decision makers at all levels. This means creating usable science, reducing the communication gaps and implementing strong DRR programmes at government and local levels.
The AIDF Africa Summit 2016 will look how technological innovations and best practice can improve aid delivery and development strategy in East Africa. Supply chains, communication and technology all contribute to helping implement a strong DRR policy plan in Africa and is vital in the current climate. The Summit will gather 250+ senior representatives and advisors from regional governments, UN agencies, international and regional NGOs, CBOs, investors and donors, research institutes and the private sector. As the paper highlighted, this is vital to help DRR as urgent connections need to be established. For more information and to register for the summit, visit: http://africa.aidforum.org/.
The paper concludes that there is “the need to build bridges among the following field of activity: DRR, climate change adaptation, and development.” DRR can not be seperated from development and those in the development field must create a partnership to achieve greater preparedness for and response to disasters.
Read the journal article by Marie-Ange Baudoin and Tsegay Wolde-Georgis here