Disasters will continue to hamper efforts to achieve sustainable development unless governments do more to anticipate and reduce their risk, warns the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), during the Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Tunis.
This year, millions of people living in crisis have not been receiving the humanitarian assistance they desperately need—partly due to the lack of sufficient investment in disaster and crisis preparedness, as well as resilience-building.
Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, IFRC Regional Director for Africa said that evidence has shown that adequate investment in disaster risk reduction is not only highly cost-effective but more importantly, has a profound impact in saving lives and livelihoods when disaster strikes. Many of the natural hazards that take place do not need to become major disasters when a population is prepared and able to cope with them.
Every day, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and volunteers are working to reduce the impact of future disasters by helping to build stronger and more resilient communities.
“Community-based solutions to better prepare for disasters are at the forefront of Red Cross and Red Crescent response. We are thankful for our network of community-based volunteers that allows us to reach even the most remote and hard-to-reach areas,” said Dr Nafo-Traoré.
In 2017, the Red Cross Movement invested more than 250 million Swiss francs in disaster risk reduction, working with local Red Cross and Red Crescent actors in the communities to help reduce the vulnerability to risk through education, community engagement and capacity building and boosting their resilience.
“Despite our efforts, there is a massive and growing gap between funds needed and funds available. There is a need for a concerted effort, led by governments. That’s why we call on governments to allocate at least 5 per cent of their revenue to the strengthening of investments in disaster risk reduction,” said Sayed Hashem, IFRC Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa. “Disaster risk reduction and resilience approaches need to be integrated into relevant national law and policy, including not only disaster management acts but also poverty eradication, food security, urban planning, water management, climate change adaptation and environmental laws and policies.”
To tackle this issue, African and Arab states are participating in the Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) from 9 to 13 September in Tunis.
“IFRC calls on states to enhance cooperation with the private sector and support the inclusion of all community groups in the development and implementation of disaster risk reduction strategies,” added Hashem.