Home » General » SADC in Bid to Step Up Disaster Preparedness

THE SADC region is still far from achieving optimum early warnings capability regarding aerse weather conditions necessary to enable adequate preparation to avert their effects on communities, the co-ordinator of the SADC Climate Services Centre has said.

Addressing a SADC workshop on New Partnership for the Implementation of the Global Framework on Climate Service underway in Harare, Mr Bradwell Garanganga, who was standing in for SADC executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said there is need to work together at regional and global levels to address, among others, issues relating to early warning.

Government, national meteorological and hydrological services experts, business and the user-community from the SADC region are attending the workshop which started on Tuesday and ends today.

“SADC is also making efforts to strengthen the Climate Services Centre in order to increase its capacity in order for it to render support to the national meteorological and hydrological services in providing specialised forecasts and climate prediction capabilities,” said Mr Garanganga.

He said there was also need for an information repository and portal that provides ready access to information relating to financial decisions – making a-one-stop-shop for raw scientific data, analysis and synthesis products, risk assessments, potential response options, case studies and best practices.

The sector requires new mechanisms to promote collaboration between the scientific community and financial decision-makers. Presenting a paper on New Partnership for Building Resilience for Business and Community Safety, SADC climate expert and programme officer Dr Dieudonne Nsadisa Faka said billions of dollars every year are spent on post-disaster relief and recovery but partnerships between Government, business and community can help reduce the impact of natural disaster. He said annual expenditure on pre-disaster resilience stands at a ratio of $10 post-disaster for every $1 spent on pre-disaster.

“In response on that regards, business, community and Government are called for a roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safe Communities to deal with and address the challenge,” said Dr Faka. Climate resilience can be generally defined as the capacity for a socio-ecological system to absorb stresses and maintain function in the face of external stresses imposed upon it by climate variability and change and adapt, reorganise and evolve into more desirable configurations that improve the sustainability of the system, leaving it better prepared for future climate change impacts.

Where disaster strikes, the effects on business include reduced long-term effectiveness of development interventions, if long-term risks are not accounted, for instance, without action, climate risk will erode gains in poverty alleviation and progress against the Millennium Development Goals, business also incurs higher long-term costs, where investors or partners need to retrofit or adjust programmes later. Acting now is often cheaper and easier in the long term, according to Dr Faka.

“Whilst governments have a responsibility to establish overarching policies and information to support resilience activities, business is best placed to develop market-based incentives to support resilience solutions,” said Dr Faka.

“Business is well placed to assist government in the five key areas: community awareness, risk information sets, adaptative research, mitigation infrastructure, strategic alliance,” he said.

National meteorological services cannot meet the accelerating demand for climate information alone.

“They must involve the users community including the private sector. Transforming climate information into business value or public goods requires understanding and experience available in the private sector,” said Mr Garanganga.

The GFCS is a UN initiative being spearheaded by the World Meteorological Organisation and is meant for climate sensitive areas of socio-economic development to fully benefit from aances in climate science. The SADC Climate Services Centre is playing a critical role in the implementation of GFCS in SADC region.

Source : The Herald