NEMA Support Initiative For Regional Disaster Resilience Strategy

The Director General National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Habib Ahmed has thrown his weight behind the initiative by ECOWAS to develop a regional resilience strategy for efficient coordination and effective early warning systems for West Africa.

Addressing participants at the opening of a stakeholders’ consultative workshop in Abuja, he identified as compelling, the need for the regional resilience strategy, noting that it was “in line with the ongoing effort by NEMA to develop a National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy (2030-2030) and Action Plan (2024-2027) for Nigeria.” He added that it will also guide anticipatory actions to support the deployment of qualitative and Quantitative data for risk-informed decisions to guide development program implementation.

He said, “geography, demographic and political dynamics of West Africa have predisposed the sub-region to complex nature and human-induced disaster and emergencies, ECOWAS countries have experienced series of disasters, crises and conflict that have posed threats to normal life, the means of livelihood of the people and sustainable economic growth and development.”

He further said that a “greater part of the West Africa sub-region is characterized with a fragile ecosystem exacerbated by climate change, Climate variability and insecurity. These factors have undermined the coping and adaptation capacity of the population which is heavily dominated by vulnerable women and children and a considerable number of people living with disabilities. Substantial parts of the emergencies are transboundary in nature.”

“The predominant disaster risk profile of West Africa has significantly posed a threat to the region’s efforts in meeting crucial global and continental initiatives including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030; the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) 2015-2030; and the African Agenda 2060. Other initiatives impacted include the African Union Program of Action (AUC-PoA) and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) treaty.”

While noting that there are derivable benefits for Nigeria from the regional resilience strategy, the NEMA DG said the Federal Government has already taken some wide-ranging actions to enhance the country’s national resilience and national food security being placed in the front burner across responsible MDAs including recovery support through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

He listed some of the recent interventions including the Special Agricultural Intervention Programme in support of farmers affected by floods and communal conflicts and the Special National Economic Livelihoods Emergency Intervention (SNELEI). In the areas of institutional development, he said the Federal Government created the National Climate Change Council in 2021 as the apex decision-making body on climate change issues with Mr President as Chairman and the Vice President as Vice Chairman of the Council and also established the Great Green Wall Program which has so far recovered arable land of about 6,007 hectares as at the second quarter of 2022.

In his remark, the UNDP Nigeria Country Resident Representative Ms Elsie Attafuah commended the ECOWAS for the initiative, aimed at “addressing the multifaceted challenges facing the region: good governance, peace, and security; macroeconomic resilience; sustainable livelihoods; social protection and resilience; gender sensitivity and social inclusion; and climate change and disaster risk reduction—aligning with global and regional frameworks, including sustainable development goals, disaster risk reduction plans, and climate agreements.” Ms Attafuah was represented by the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Mr Blessed Chirimuta.

Speaking earlier, the ECOWAS Commissioner of Human Development and Social Affairs Professor Fato Sow Sarr appreciated the support of various partners towards the development of the regional resilience strategy.

Participants in the consultative workshop are drawn from all member countries of ECOWAS.

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