The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has developed a draft framework to build the capacity of its members to withstand the disasters experienced by adverse effects of climate change.
The development of the draft has been occasioned by unpreparedness by member states to manage climate change, floods, landslides, drought, cyclones, disease epidemics and heat waves among others.
Speaking on Tuesday during the COMESA Resilience Framework Validation meeting in Nairobi, the COMESA Climate Change Advisor, Mclay Kanyagara said the draft would help to reduce the risk of climate change disasters to the national economies.
Kanyagara who was addressing representatives of member states said the framework would also address the uneven and disorganized approach to managing risks, shocks and stresses which have proved to be ineffective as the magnitude of the loss and damage continues to rise.
“Our countries are spending huge resources rebuilding damaged infrastructure instead of using them for economic development,” he said.
He said it was disheartening to see resources allocated to priority development projects and programmes being diverted to deal with the effects of the disasters thereby trapping man in a vicious cycle of underdevelopment and poverty.
The Climate Change Advisor said the validation meeting was critical, as it would provide a platform for the member states to give input into the draft framework after which it would be presented to COMESA Policy organ for adoption and implementation.
The African Union Commission representative, Gatkuoth Kai said that climate change disasters were not only increasing but also becoming unpredictable.
“We have been having programmes for climate change but this resilience framework will give us a more concrete strategy,” added Gakuoth.
He alluded that the effective tool of building resilience is to recognize that disasters would continue to occur but should not in any way affect lives.
Currently, many countries in the region are faced with the challenges of resources and capacities in response to disaster management.
According to COMESA, it is compelled through its treaty to assist its member states attain sustainable development and to achieve development in building resilience in the capacity on disaster reduction.
COMESA’s goal is to realize for its member states a fully integrated, internationally competitive regional economic community with high living standards that is sustainable and resilient to shocks and stresses.
By Njeri Kariuki/Bernadette Khaduli