The head of the Disaster Risk Reduction Division of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has reconfirmed the organization’s commitment to social and economic development in West Africa.
Speaking yesterday at the opening of a two-day workshop on the establishment of the National Platform for Disaster and Risk Reduction in Liberia, Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim said ECOWAS will encourage and promote national platforms integrating disaster risk reduction, emergency response and climate change adaptation in the sub-region.
The workshop is organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs-National Disaster Relief Commission, with support from ECOWAS and the United Nation Development Program (UNDP).
Mr. Ibrahim said the rationale for establishing and strengthening national platforms in West Africa is based on the need to make substantial progress in implementing the ECOWAS Policy for disaster risk reduction in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) and the African Regional Programme.
According to him, there should be increased commitment and engagement by all ECOWAS member states to required more and effective partnerships between countries under the coordination of the commission for building a stronger, more systematic and coherent sub-regional effort to support national disaster reduction activities in the sub-region.
Mr. Ibrahim disclosed that disasters caused by natural and man-made events amount to limitation on development and the achievement of the goals of human security and welfare.
In West Africa, he said, the occurrence of natural and man-made disasters over the last three decades has continued to threaten the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS).
To minimize these negative impacts and to attain the strategic objectives of ECOWAS, the policy for Disaster Risk Reduction was developed and adopted by authorities and head of state at the thirty first ordinary summit in Ouagadougou on January 19th 2007, he declared.
For his part, Internal Affairs Minister, Morris Dukuly acknowledged ECOWAS and said that the national platforms on disasters management are issues that African region needs to respond to.
Minister Dukuly recalled that those who have lived in Monrovia for the past 25 years will not deny that “we have more than climate change here.”
Monrovia, he said, never hardly got flooded but today everywhere is being flooded. This also the case in all of the counties.
According to him, climate change is not a science fiction but it is real and is incumbent upon us to act quickly to this disaster.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), Cllr. Abla Gadegbeku Williams, said climate change is an evitable phenomenon which “we must watch closely and, at all times, be prepared to formulate and apply appropriate solutions for the control of our environment.”
"Today, we have gathered to establish a national platform which would reduce the risk of disaster in the wake of imminent climate change which is taking place in Liberia. Such change often affects poor people who eventually become internally displaced and there is need to find a durable solution to their plight,” Madam Williams declared.