Dr. Angela Lusigi, Resident Representative, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Ghana, called on West African countries to pay more attention to disaster preparedness and post-disaster recovery.
He said recovery measures could be taken as an opportunity for better returns through sustainable solutions and risk-sensitive investments for sustainable development.
Dr Lucigi made the remarks at the opening of a three-day regional workshop in Accra on Monday on disaster recovery priorities and the development of a roadmap to prepare for recovery in West Africa.
The workshop was organized by the Ecovas Commission with technical assistance from UNDP and funding from the European Union and the Swedish government.
The workshop is under the auspices of the Sahel Resilience Project and under the Capacity Building Project to assess post-disaster needs and prepare for recovery.
He said West Africa needs a larger regional approach to recovery that integrates the region’s diversity, shared borders and mobile population.
“Conflicts, climate-related disasters and impacts, and epidemics that spread across borders must be combined with our general efforts to build resilience.”
“We must include the most vulnerable people in disaster response and recovery. Failure to include women and girls, immigrants and displaced persons means failure to overcome and recover from the crisis in a sustainable manner.
“Our ability to collectively respond to disasters and recover from hard work is critical to protecting development gains and ensuring a better quality of life for all, especially in the fragile environment of the West Coast and Lake Chad Basin,” he said. .
The Ecovas region ranks highest among the six regions of Africa in terms of risk exposure, vulnerability and the number of people affected by disasters.
Floods and droughts continue and have affected about 100 million people in the last 40 years.
In June 2015, severe floods in the Greater Accra metropolitan area affected about 53,000 people and caused heavy disruption and damage.
The sixth IPCC report of 2021 projected an increase in drought, heavy rainfall and plavial flooding in the West African region.
He called for dialogue to assist in the effective implementation of the disaster response, post-disaster recovery and reconstruction in fragile settings.
Dr Lucigi praised Ghana and the insurance industry for partnering with UNDP Ghana to manage flood risk and design innovative insurance solutions to provide quick pay-outs for poor and vulnerable urban communities.
Dr. Syntiki Tarfa Ugbe, Director, Humanitarian and Social Affairs, and senior representatives of the Ecovas Commission called for continued cooperation to create coordination and resilience for post-disaster recovery processes.
Mr. Frank Agre, Deputy Director, Climate Change Unit, National Disaster and Management Organization (NADMO), called for the development of a framework that would be sustainable for the region.