Fifty participants cut across seven countries in the Western Sahel and Lake Chad Basin have been trained on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation to caution the effect in the region.

The training which was organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Sweden in partnership with the ECOWAS Commission was held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on 23–25 August,  aimed at integrating climate-related issues into regional decision-making for development.

Speaking at the training the Counsellor to the Swedish Embassy in Addis Ababa and Programme Officer for Environment, Climate Change and Renewable Energy, Anna Tjärvar, noted that the essence is to reduce climate and disaster vulnerability while boosting commitments in flood management.

“In practice, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation complement each other; they are two sides of the same coin with a common goal, which is to reduce the vulnerability of communities to current and future extreme weather events.”

Consequently, the United Nations Resident Coordinator A.I. in Mauritania Cheikh Fall, stresses that tackling the impact of climate change is vital, hence commitment is required to change the narrative.

“The high costs of the impacts of disasters and climate change related to droughts, fires, floods, and epidemics justify a different approach to development that considers the multiple underlying risks to which people are exposed.

“Development gains remain fragile and are being challenged by new threats, including the impacts of climate change. These threats are interconnected, crossing national borders, and occurring simultaneously.”

Fall added that the training is aimed at building the capacity of government officials from seven countries in the Sahel so as to support policy implementation on climate change.

“The training is timely as countries prepare for COP27 on climate change, where climate risk and development issues will be widely discussed.”

Meanwhile, the ECOWAS Commission’s Head of Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian Affairs Division Mohammed Ibrahim, reviewed that the ECOWAS Vision 2025, and the Hydro-Met initiative have significantly advanced member states’ policies in the environment, agriculture, food security, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation.

“Climate variability and extreme events are now major risks to sustainable development, and there is compelling scientific evidence that these threats will accelerate in the coming decades.

“The integration of climate risk management into development planning and decision-making processes is now making it possible to exploit the synergies between development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.”

Recognizing the complexity of climate change and disaster risk characterized by insecurity, epidemics, and economic volatility concrete action was reached to advance risk-informed development in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

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