On Friday, the Seventh High-Level Meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction took place in Nairobi, Kenya, and virtually, with Ministers responsible for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and Member States’ Heads of Delegations considering and adopting the outcomes of the Eighth Africa Regional Platform for DRR. Ministers and Heads of Delegations adopted the Nairobi Declaration on accelerating achievement of the Programme of Action (PoA) for implementing the Sendai Framework in Africa, including the Matrix of the PoA (Phase II: 2021-2025) to Implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
Master of Ceremonies Gordon Muga, Under Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Kenya, opened the meeting. Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), highlighted progress since the adoption of the Tunis Declaration in 2018, including: 25 African countries adopting DRR strategies and action plans aligned with the Sendai Framework; and operationalizing the Sendai Framework Monitor with 28 countries using it. She noted that the results of the Eighth Africa Platform for DRR will feed into the Global Platform for DRR taking place in May 2022 in Indonesia.
Kai Gatkuoth, Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission (AUC), on behalf of Josefa Correia Leonel Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, highlighted recent achievements guided by the Tunis Declaration and drew attention to the Biennial African Report on DRR. He underscored: operationalization of the AUC situation room and the relevant framework for early warning and action; strengthening risk governance and resilience; and the development of a roadmap for urban resilience.
Highlighting the regional context, Workneh Gebeyehu, Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), outlined IGAD’s responsive policies, strategies, and action plans, including a revised regional strategy for DRR aligned to the Sendai Framework and emphasized that implementation is the priority. Fred Okengo Matiang’i, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Kenya, called for forging ahead to ensure effective risk preparedness, especially in the context of emerging risks.
Following the opening remarks, Leila Chikhaoui Mehdaoui, Minister of the Environment, Tunisia, and Chair of the current Africa Regional Platform Bureau, announced Kenya as the incoming Presidency of the Regional Platform and a new Bureau composed of Gabon, The Gambia, South Africa, and Tunisia. Accepting the Presidency, Fred Okengo Matiang’i pledged commitment to ensuring the Platform advances progress on reducing disasters and risks in the region.
Ministers and Heads of Delegations also heard presentations on: the Africa Framework for Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Early Action; the COVID-19 recovery strategy for Africa; the new Matrix of the PoA for Implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR in Africa; and the Nairobi Declaration on accelerating the path to achieving the goals and targets of the PoA for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 in Africa. The Nairobi Declaration was formally adopted by the meeting.
The High-Level Meeting also featured presentations of voluntary commitments by stakeholders. The Global Network of Civil Society Organizations for DRR, Indigenous Knowledge Alliance, IGAD, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and others, presented commitments and requests for promoting DRR on the continent. Stephen Jackson, UN Resident Coordinator, Kenya, on behalf of UN Kenya, presented voluntary commitments to support the Kenyan Government and other partners in building multidimensional resilience under a “leave no one behind” approach.
In closing statements, Ministers and Heads of Delegation welcomed the Nairobi Declaration and urged reinvigorated implementation of the PoA. Kenya underscored that humankind cannot avoid disasters but should instead focus on reducing risk.
Matiang’i lauded the Eighth Africa Regional Platform for contributing to an enabling environment that will help countries continue to implement the Sendai Framework and its PoA for Africa. He brought the meeting to a close at 6.36pm East Africa Time.
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