On November 9, 2018, the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Commission hosted the ACP-EU NDRR Program Focus Day in Brussels, Belgium. The theme of the Focus Day was “Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) in ACP Countries.” The event was organized in the margins of the GFDRR Fall 2018 Consultative Group meeting and Knowledge Partnership Day which took place on 7 and 8 November 2018, also in Brussels, Belgium.
During the Focus Day, nearly 90 stakeholders – including Regional Organizations, officials from ACP countries, ACP embassies in Brussels, ACP Secretariat, European Union (EU), Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)/ World Bank, and civil society organizations – learned from countries and regional organizations about how they are strengthening their resilience to natural hazards, including through projects financed by the ACP-EU NDRR Program.
Ambassador Léonard-Emile Ognimba (Assistant Secretary General, Political Affairs and Human Development, ACP Group) opened the event by highlighting the importance of sharing lessons learned and knowledge between ACP countries. Mr. Nicola Di Pietrantonio (Acting Head of Climate Change Sector, Sustainable Energy and Climate Change, DG DEVCO, European Commission) emphasized in his opening remarks that when stakeholders work together and engage in dialogue, they can help find solutions to improve resilience in the most vulnerable regions and countries.
The Focus Day was divided into different sessions during which participants from ACP countries shared their experiences with the ACP-EU NDRR Program, identified challenges and opportunities for the mainstreaming of DRM and CCA, and exchanged on-the-ground experience. The sharing of these different views triggered discussions and insights.
“Climate Change Adaptation is our global mission.”
Mr. Omar Sweeney, Managing Director, Jamaica Social Investment Fund
Regional Organizations from Africa and the Caribbean shared important lessons learned. One of these is that DRM interventions are most effective when they are aligned to national and regional priorities, so that the overall focus of interventions remains on contributing to sustainable development. Regional Organizations pointed out some challenges including the high dependency on external funding, limited integration of DRR in national development policies, and limited data sharing amongst scientist and other DRM actors.
The ensuing sessions had lively discussions on DRM activities in each of the ACP regions. It was widely acknowledged that the ACP-EU NDRR Program positively contributes to strengthening the overall resilience of countries. ACP officials highlighted that important strands of work include updating DRM legislation, gathering risk data, and developing innovative approaches to disaster risk financing.
“Go Local. Go Big. Risk Resilience is everyone's business.”
Ms. Cointha Thomas, Permanent Secretary, Saint Lucia & Mary Alalo, CRISP Project Coordinator, Solomon Islands.
The closing remarks of the Focus Day were delivered by Dr. Patrick Ignatius Gomes (Secretary-General of the ACP Group of States), underlining that stakeholders must build on the discussions of the Focus Day to build tangible and concrete results. He also noted the importance of maintaining coherence between different DRM interventions in countries, and valued the partnership between the ACP Group of States, the EU, GFDRR and the World Bank.
Focus Day PowerPoints: