All eight member states of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development have been urged to increase resource allocation towards disaster risk management.
The IGAD 12th steering committee and 7th general assembly meeting held in Mombasa was also told to increase collaborative efforts that will protect people vulnerable to disasters like drought, flood, locust invasion among others.
Patrick Wilson the USAID deputy mission director Kenya and East Africa, who also represented the Global Alliance said this will also reduce need for humanitarian aid.
“Member states must allocate adequate resources to address these disasters so as to be prepared, not for if but for when they occur,” Wilson, who addressed the meeting virtually from Nairobi said.
IGAD session chair and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, said although considerable progress has been achieved especially by the host nation, more needs to be done.
He stressed on the need for more collaborative efforts by the member states so as to completely attain sustainability in addressing disasters.
“Droughts and related environmental challenges do not know or respect political boundaries,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by IGAD executive secretary Workneh Gebeyehu, who said 70 per cent of the land area in the IGAD region is categorized as arid and semi-arid lands.
“It is therefore concerning that our climate projections show that the IGAD region is on the frontlines of climate change and will on average, heat up twice as fast as the rest of the world,” Gebeyehu said.
This, he said, has the danger of increasing conflicts as a result of competition for the ever diminishing resources.
“If we also consider the simultaneous occurrence of related disasters, such as seasonal flooding, chronic invasion of desert locusts and most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic, the situation in our region grows more precarious,” he said.
Gebeyehu said the most recent data from the IGAD-led Food Security and Nutrition Working Group estimates that 31 million people in IGAD member states are facing severe food insecurity and in need of urgent assistance.
“Of particular concern are 105,000 of our brothers and sisters in South Sudan whose food security status is categorized as catastrophic‚” he said.
“A closer examination of this crisis shows that the effects climate change, natural disasters and economic shocks will claim more of our people’s lives than conflict alone,” Gebeyehu said.
Wamalwa said Kenya set up the National Drought Emergency Fund after the 2019 IGAD general assembly in Nairobi and this will go a long way to alleviating the effects of drought in the country.
Kenya is in the process of operationalizing the fund, with the regulations already gazetted.
NDEF is a multi-donor fund for drought preparedness, resilience and rapid response.
Wilson lauded Kenya for the fund.
The Devolution CS said Kenya has also already come up with the Disaster Risk Management Policy which will set up another fund to respond to other disasters.
Kenya, he said, has also initiated a process through which more resources will be allocated to the grassroots.
Through the BBI, the government intends to increase allocation to counties from the current 15 per cent of the revenue collected in the last fiscal year to 35 per cent.
“This is towards resilience building,” he said.
Wamalwa said NDEF already has about Sh2 billion.
The two urged the IGAD member states including Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan, to increase their collaborative efforts towards achieving drought resilience.
By BRIAN OTIENO
Source – The Star