The need for increased financing of early warning systems in Africa has become highly inevitable considering the high level vulnerability of some of the countries that requires access to early warning alerts that can be downscaled to large populations living in massive swathes of rugged landmass. Also poor internet connectivity and inadequate technology for early warning information dissemination have called for the need for increased financing of Africa Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Early Action System Program.
For us at Nigeria, our approach to early warning system is multi-stake holding involving relevant government institutions. These include, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution amongst others. This has led to the development of multi-hazard early warning system for Nigeria which reflects the country’s hazard scenario consisting of annual flood, boat mishap, building collapse, urban and market fires, windstorms, banditry, farmers-pastoralists conflicts and epidemics. There is no doubt, the complex hazard situations requires enhanced financing to enable it meet up to the desired goals. The layers of funding range from observations and monitoring, forecasting, analysis of data, alert dissemination, downscaling and monitoring of level of compliance to early actions.
Within the greater West African sub-region, there is the ECOWAS Regional Disaster Operations Centre in Abuja, Nigeria in line with the Program for a Continental Coordination, Early Warning and Action Systems in Africa. The Centre is established to strengthen regional coordination for improving forecasting and exchange of data and information for effective and efficient disaster risk management among member states in the West African Sub-region. This initiative was facilitated by the Italian Government through the Italian Civil Protection, UNDRR, and CIMA Foundation as part of the enhanced financing for the systems for the region. We require more assistance in the sub-region.
The West African sub-region being part of the Sub-Saharan Economic Groups is faced with different hazards scenarios characterised with fragile ecosystem and economy. There is serious threat to human population, wildlife, the environment, infrastructure, and livelihoods. These have undermined community resilience to shocks and stress with varying degree on demographic structure of the zone consisting of women, children, the elderly, people living with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. Based on the graphic above, management of disaster risks cannot be actualized without efficient and effective coordination of early warning systems anchored on increased financing.
Early warning in Nigeria also takes into consideration indigenous structures at the community level in order to ensure that every one is covered with early warning actions. The local structures need to be refined and modernized to meet current realities in areas of effectiveness and efficiency. This calls for enhanced financing.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am fully convinced that today’s event will avail us the opportunity to network and seek for areas of mutual support and collaboration between partners across Africa and the global community.
I sincerely thank and appreciate all the partners and individuals that facilitated this event