The rational for establishing and strengthening national platforms in West Africa is based on the need to make substantial progress in implementing the ECOEAS Policy for Disaster Risk Reduction, Vice President of The Gambia Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy has said.
However, she lamented that most platforms are active for a short time after their launching and then disappear into oblivion due mostly to capacity constraints in developing and implementing their priority activities and programmes at national and local levels.
The VP’s statement was read on her behalf by the Minister of Interior Hon Ousman Sonko on the Launching of the National Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) at Senegambia Beach Hotel in Kololi, The Gambia 15 – 17 March, 2011.
The event, which is in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action and the Africa Regional Programme on DRR, funded by the ECOWAS Commission and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
She advice members of the platform to show a high degree of commitment and not to focus too much attention on the remuneration aspect which may end up defeating the purpose of the platform.
Dr. Njie-Saidy, who is also the Chairperson Disaster Management Governing Council, appeal to the sub-regional economic bloc, ECOWAS to substantially provide the much needed financial and logistic support to build motivation and the requisite capacity to enhance the functionality of the platform.
She explained that national platforms are advocacy fora for mainstreaming DRR into development and serve as prevention, preparedness, mitigation, and response mechanisms for concerted actions through a participatory process. While a national platform for DRR is a multi-stakeholder forum nationally owned and led by the government to provide coordination, analysis and advice on issues related to disaster risk reduction.
According to her, The Gambia is the first country to share and test these newly developed guidelines as an important driver in the regional DRR crusade, the objectives for which are to strengthen DRR institutional framework, through awareness and sensitization of major actors in The Gambia.
It is also aimed at providing Technical Assistant to Member State through preparation of DRR programmes, resource mobilization and implementation of the ECOWAS Policy on DRR and its Plan of Action 2010-2015; and to enhance the capacity of The Gambia to put in place adequate coordination mechanisms to establish and operationalised functional DRR national platforms involving key national stakeholders, line ministries, civil societies, NGOs and international partners.
The Country Director for Concern Universal (CU) Patricia Wall said their programmes have changed strategically as a result of the dynamism in the global development arena since 1993. CU’s geographic focus also shifted and now includes all Regions of The Gambia.
One of CU’s strategic objectives is “to reduce disaster risk in communities and build sustainable resilience to both human made and natural disaster” she said.
For his part, Omar Badjie, Action Aid International-The Gambia said if this platform is functional and effective then the frequency and magnitude of disasters in Gambia will significantly reduce regardless of the climate change phenomenon.
“Action Aid’s vision is a world without poverty and injustice in which every person enjoys their right to a life of dignity. To attain this, we work with the poor and excluded people in six thematic areas to strengthen their capacities in ensuring that they take charge of their own development processes,” he explained. Source - The Voice