Africa seeks united position on disaster risk reduction

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An aerial view of Arusha, Tanzania by Gerald Davison

Africa’s position on a new global framework for disaster risk reduction amidst continuing concern over the ravages of climate change, drought, floods and other natural hazards is the focus of the 4th Africa Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction meeting taking place in Tanzania.

The meeting, attended by representatives of 40 African States is to discuss the challenges and to develop a joint position on the new global framework for disaster risk reduction which will be agreed at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction hosted by Japan in 2015. Africa’s experience of implementing the existing Hyogo Framework for Action, the first global action plan for reducing disasters, will be widely debated during the three–day meeting.

Figures released today by UNISDR, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, show that 18 million people were affected by drought last year and 8.8 million were affected by floods across sub-Saharan Africa. Economic losses from 147 recorded disasters over the last two years were $1.3 billion.

UNISDR Chief and the UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, said: “There have been striking successes at reducing the impact of major disaster events such as the current floods in Mozambique and the threatened major drought last year on the Horn of Africa but extreme weather events continue to remind us of Africa’s vulnerability and exposure to natural hazards.

Ms. Wahlstrom said "Africa’s economic growth is bringing opportunities and new investment. She noted that it has the highest rate of urbanization in the world, adding that half of Africa’s population will live in cities and towns by 2050.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’31″

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