Abuja/Dakar, 2 October – The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) this week signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the implementation of a three-year project to strengthen capacities of regional and national institutions in charge of disaster risk reduction in the Sahel to build resilience to disasters and climate change.
The project titled “Strengthening Capacities for Disaster Risk Reduction and Adaptation for Resilience in the Sahel Region: fostering risk-informed solutions for sustainable development” with an overall budget of 7.5 million US dollars is funded by Sweden and UNDP. It will contribute to ECOWAS’ strategy to reduce vulnerability to climate change and to build the resilience of affected communities, along with the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in the region.
“The vulnerability of poor people in the Sahel makes a compelling case for reducing risks and prevent disasters. Sweden is therefore pleased to fund this very important program in the ECOWAS region,” said Ulla Andren, Head of Regional Development Cooperation for Sida in Africa.
“The Sahel is as much a land of opportunities as it is of challenges. Successive political and humanitarian crises have been eroding the ability of communities to withstand increasingly frequent shocks, protracted conflict, and poverty,” underlined Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, who signed the agreement on behalf of ECOWAS. “COVID-19 is a stark reminder of the urgent need to address these underlying risks through greater regional cooperation and a long-term resilience-based approach to development,” she added.
The project activities will be undertaken through enhanced partnerships and multi-stakeholder coordination among key regional institutions—the African Union Commission, ECOWAS, the Lake Chad Basin Commission, specialized agencies such as AGRHYMET, the academia – Peri Peri U consortium, UN Women, and UNDP; this in close collaboration with the national governments of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal.
“There is a critical need to develop the long-term capacity of institutions in resilience-building to support West African communities to break away from the vicious cycle of humanitarian crises as well as to restore pathways to sustainable development,” said Stan Nkwain, Director a.i. for the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa. “The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 in the Sahel is predicated on the extent to which development planning processes and investment decisions by regional institutions and national governments are informed by prevailing risks to the sustainability of development results,” he emphasized.
The project will promote sustainable development solutions that take into account multiple risks that the region is exposed to. It will do so, by focusing on regional and national regulatory, policy and budgetary frameworks for disaster risk governance; collection, analysis and application of risk information for decision-making; recovery processes that address underlying disaster and climate change risks; and urban risk management.