The SADC Secretariat and Africa Risk Capacity (ARC) last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which lays the foundation for collaboration on matters of common interest related to disaster risk and financing for disaster management.
The SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax and ARC Director General, Mohamed Beavogui, signed the MoU on behalf of SADC and the ARC respectively. The ARC is a specialised agency of the African Union (AU) established to assist member states improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters, therefore ensuring food security of their vulnerable populations.
Speaking during the event, Beavogui said he was delighted with the signing of the MoU and called for SADC’s support to strengthen the participation of SADC member states in the ARC mechanism. He said that the partnership between SADC and ARC will enable the two parties to systematically work together to better profile disaster risks facing the region, strengthen existing response capacities and contingency plans, and offer sovereign insurance options to enable rapid action when natural disasters occur.
Beavogui added that at present, the ARC has 33 member states with over 10 countries having taken out sovereign level insurance against drought in the last five drought risk pools since 2015. In these pools, he said, ARC has transferred over US$600 million worth of risk to the international risk insurance market, and has had insurance pay-outs of over $60 million pay-outs to African Union member states to date.
Dr Tax expressed appreciation to ARC for collaborating with SADC in building disaster resilience in the region, culminating in the signing of the MOU, which sets the region on a path to expanding its existing response mechanism against drought and other climate risks.
The Executive Secretary indicated that the recent occurrence of Cyclone Idai and Kenneth, which affected some SADC member states, has increased the need for a comprehensive and integrated regional approach towards disaster risk reduction and mitigation of all forms of negative impacts resulting from increasing climate variability.
Under the agreement, SADC and ARC will, among others, collaborate on;
- Broadening disaster risk financing and integration into disaster risk policy and frameworks in the SADC region;
- Exchanging of data and information on climate early warning;
- Piloting the integration of Africa RiskView tool into National Vulnerability Assessment Committees;
- Improving existing regional and national flood modelling and forecasting tools; review of input data that is used in Africa Risk View, through sharing methodologies used for rainfall estimates and drought monitoring; and
- Disaster Risk Financing to build regional disaster risk management and financing capacities, mechanisms and tools for risk insurance facilities for addressing both humanitarian and infrastructure reconstruction and recovery needs.
The two parties called for the speedy finalisation and roll out of the costed Action Plan to implement the MoU so that the SADC region can start to benefit from the agreement.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration, Dr Thembinkosi Mhlongo, legal counsel Nthabiseng Liphapang, senior programme officer for disaster risk reduction, Sithembiso Gina, and ARC country engagement manager for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region, Timothy Gotora. – sadc.net.