COMESA has developed a draft Regional Resilience Framework to build the capacity of its members to withstand disasters occasioned by adverse effects of climate change.
The development of the framework has been informed by the increasing vulnerability of regional countries, to climate change and other disasters such as flooding, landslides, droughts, cyclones, disease epidemics, heatwaves among others.
Mid this year, the region experienced devastating cyclones Idai and Kenneth that affected Malawi and Zimbabwe and Mozambique, causing more than 1,000 deaths, infrastructure and property damage running into billions of dollars.
COMESA Climate Change advisor, Dr Mclay Kanyangarara, explained during the opening of the meeting that the Regional Resilience Framework will also address the fragmented and haphazard approach to managing risks, shocks and stresses, which has proved to be ineffective as the magnitude of loss and damage continues to escalate.
“Resources allocated to much needed developmental projects and programmes are diverted to deal with the effects of the disasters thereby trapping many in a vicious cycle of poverty and underdevelopment,” he observed.
He said the validation meeting was critical in providing a platform for Member States to review and provide final input into the draft resilience framework after which it will be presented to the COMESA Policy Organs for adoption and subsequently, implementation.
Resilience will build the capacity of the Member States to reduce the risk of climate change disasters on the national economies.
In his statement, the African Union Commission representative Gatkuoth Kai, said the climate change disasters are not only increasing but also becoming more unpredictable.
“The effective tool of building resilience is to recognize that disasters will continue to occur but should not affect our lives hence the importance of developing and implementing the resilience framework,” Kai said.
Seventeen out of the 21 COMESA Member States are participating in the meeting. These are Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, D.R Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Eswatini, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
During the two days, the delegates will discuss the implementation arrangements and financing opportunities for the regional resilience framework interventions, come up with recommendations of domesticating the resilience framework provisions in order to strengthen national resilience-building efforts and develop an implementation roadmap of the COMESA regional resilience framework.
In developing the framework, COMESA is cooperating with partners including African Union Commission (AUC) Regional Economic Communities (RECs), IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Africa Region Office).