Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates,
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the African Group.
The African group aligns its statement with the statement to be delivered by the delegation of Cuba on behalf of G77+China.
Our meeting today takes place at a moment when Africa is one of the most affected regions by disasters, including the adverse effects of climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification, and the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also estimated that 60 per cent of Africa does not have access to early warning and climate information services, which makes the continent one of the most vulnerable regions to disasters.
In the past 20 years, climate-related disasters have almost doubled. Developing countries need an estimated $70 billion annually for adaptation. Africa has also suffered the greatest economic impact, with losses equivalent to 12.3 per cent of its total GDP in the reporting years. Disaster risk reduction-related ODA has however barely increased, with only 0.5 per cent from 2010 to 2019 dedicated to disaster risk reduction in the pre-disaster phase – a marginal improvement from the 0.4 per cent of the 1990–2010 period. This financing gap must be addressed.
Africa remains committed to the four priorities of the Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction and is exerting all efforts in understanding disaster risk, strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk, investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience, enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.
The commitment of Africa to disaster risk reduction goes back to 2004 when the “African Strategy on Disaster Risk reduction” was adopted. The aim of the Strategy is to contribute to the attainment of sustainable development and poverty eradication by facilitating the integration of disaster risk reduction into development. To enhance the implementation of the Sendai Framework, the African Union also adopted an updated operationalization Matrix of (2021-2025) to implement the Framework in Africa.
Substantial increase in political commitment is demonstrated by the appointment of H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique, as African Union Champion for Disaster Risk Management and the adoption of the Nairobi Declaration on accelerating the path to achieving the goals and targets of the Programme of Action for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in Africa.
The provision of the means of implementation is crucial, now more than ever, to fully implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, establish the necessary coherence between disaster risk reduction and the eradication of poverty and achieve sustainable development.
Access to finance, especially concessional financing, capacity building and transfer of technology must be provided in line with the Sendai Framework, and other relevant agreements most notably the UNFCCC, its Paris agreement and the relevant decisions in this regard.
The African Group reiterates it support to the United Nations Secretary-General’s initiatives to protect everyone on Earth through universal coverage of early warning systems against extreme weather and climate change within the next five years and invites development partners, the international financial institutions, and the multilateral development banks to provide support for implementation of the Early Warnings for All initiative.
In this connection, the African group reaffirms the importance of doubling climate finance to adaptation as well as the operationalization of the loss and damage fund, as agreed in COP27 in Sharm Elsheikh.
Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates
I now turn my attention to speak in my national capacity.
The adoption of national and international instruments to address societal risk do not guarantee that a such a decision is implemented. The need to invest in resources that can effectively put instruments into action is critical. Political will to allocate these required resources to manage and reduce disaster risk will largely determine if societal resilience is achieved. The need to develop and foster this commitment is now given the growing global risk landscape that is developing. In this regard there is a need to further our commitments to bolster multilateralism based on the founding principles of consultation, inclusion and solidarity.
Expanding partnerships through multilateralism along regional, political, and economical arrangements are critical and must be strengthened through capacity building to mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction using action plans to guide implementation to the sub-national level. Collaboration through these partnerships provides opportunities to formulate common visions of the future we all want as articulated by the Sustainable Development Goals and other international instruments. This will enable us to set goals, pool resources, improve representation and promote the implementation of commitments made.
Finding the resources to finance the development goals we seek requires that we relook at our financing instruments especially for developing countries where it is critical to find ways of financing rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure with instruments based on development grants or similar instruments rather than doing it through loans. Taking this approach will enable governments to focus on expanding their development rather than servicing debt.
South Africa has made progress in terms of implementing the SFDRR through various measures and is poised to learn and cooperate with other partners to share our insights. In this regard South Africa has made progress in developing our Early Warning System with regards to severe weather to reflect a forecast of what the weather impact would be. In this regard communities and response agencies are more empowered to make informed decisions on how to prepare for the expected impact by taking early action.
The COVID-19 pandemic required that government improve its coordination and management systems. This enabled government to better deal with other weather related national disasters that occurred during the last two years. Notwithstanding these gains South Africa collaborated recently with India, Japan, Germany, Bangladesh and Mozambique who shared best practices in terms of their disaster management systems with the aim to deepen the South African disaster management system. We express our gratitude to these countries for the information and practices shared.
South Africa is therefore committed to the implementation (within its means and ability to raise finance) of the SDG’s and other global commitments to enhance and support initiatives that promote disaster risk reduction. I thank you!