IGAD, UNOSAT Meeting Focuses on DRR Capacities in the Horn of Africa

UNITAR IGAD23 January 2014: Representatives of member States of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), international organizations, UN agencies, the private sector, academia and the media convened in Nairobi, Kenya, for a meeting on ‘Strengthening technological capacities and information access for improving disaster risk reduction in the Horn of Africa.'

The meeting addressed how to: strengthen the efforts of IGAD and its member States to build resilience and disaster response; establish collaborative disaster risk reduction (DRR) plans using enhanced technology and sharing more information; and increase access to technology so that it can play a more prominent role in informing policy.

During the event, David Jakaiti, Kenya's Ministry for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, speaking on behalf of his Cabinet Secretary, explained that Kenya is enhancing national capacities by initiating several technology-intensive programmes in universities. Other success stories from across Africa, as well as Thailand and Viet Nam, were also presented, with the aim of scaling up results by replicating successes. Key messages emerging from the meeting included: the value of geospatial technology for DRR; the critical role media plays in communicating the impact of disasters; and the integral role of DRR in sustainable development.

The timing of the meeting coincided with a key phase of the UN Institute for Training and Research's Operation Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT)-IGAD regional capacity development programme, which began in 2012. The programme's second phase will run from 2014 to 2016, and will focus on developing DRR capacity in all IGAD member States. The event, which convened from 22-23 January 2014, with over 70 participants in attendance, was organized by IGAD together with UNOSAT and Wilton Park, with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Wilton Park is a forum for global change and an executive agency of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. [UNITAR Press Release] [Wilton Park Meeting Website] [UNITAR/UNOSAT Website]