ECOWAS Develops Guideline On WA Disaster Risk Reduction

An official of the ECOWAS Commission says the Commission has developed a guideline for the establishment and strengthening of a National Platform for Disaster risk Reduction in West Africa.

The head of ECOWAS for Disaster Risk Management, Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim, said this will enhance coordination mechanisms and reduce the impact of natural and man-made disasters, including humanitarian crisis in West Africa.

According to the Liberian News Agency, Mr. Ibrahim made the statement on Friday at the close of a two- day Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Technical Workshop held in Monrovia suburb of Sinkor.

He said the platform was validated by experts from member states at a meeting held in Banjul, Gambia in July 2010, which also included technical inputs from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, World Health Organization and the United Nations International Children’s Fund.

The ECOWAS official noted that the guideline has been implemented in Benin, Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Cote d’ Ivoire, Niger and Sierra Leone and that the Disaster Risk Reduction is a cross-cutting and complex issue, which requires a political, legal, budgetary commitment, public understanding, scientific knowledge, careful development and responsible enforcement of policies and legislations.

He noted that disaster reduction also needs a people-centered early warning system and disaster prevention, preparedness, mitigation and response mechanisms. He called for increased commitment and engagement by all ECOWAS members through more effective partnerships between countries under the coordination of the ECOWAS Commission for building a stronger, more systemic and coherent sub-regional effort to support national disaster reduction activities in West Africa.