Africa’s Indian Ocean countries must invest in preparedness – Red Cross

Africa’s islands that characterize the Indian Ocean are at a vulnerable climatic space. Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros remain at risk to vulnerability to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and cyclones.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) the declining amount of global humanitarian funding juxtaposed to the high rate of lives remaining at risk in the area brings an urgent need to boost preparedness in local humanitarian capacity.

President of IFRC Tadateru Konoé stressed that the devastating humanitarian and economic impact of natural disasters in the Indian Ocean countries will worsen in time, unless there is a double down on investments in resilience and preparedness.

“More efforts should be made to boost domestic resource mobilization, building community resilience, and country-level policy dialogue between governments and local actors such Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.” He further noted.

The cost of climate change has devastated the area, with Cyclone Enawo claiming 80 lives and displacing tens of thousand people in Madagascar, and natural disasters in 2013 costing US $250 Million in damages to Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius and Zanzibar.

In an effort to combat the harsh results that natural disasters leave behind, one of the islands has placed climate change at the heart of their sustainable development strategy. Post Paris Agreement , Seychelles has adopted the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), a multimillion investment project aimed at boosting resilience and preparedness in the region.

With aim to comprehensively integrate climate change planning in the national development plan, the NDC has investment projects that cost up to US$604 Million, 40% of 2016 GDP. While 3.5% of its existing climate related projects are reflected in the Public-Sector Investment Program for 2017-2019 (according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)), the NDC’s implementation program is well underway.

In a climate change policy assessment by the IMF, it was noted that mobilizing private investment will be significant, however forecast private investors keen on mitigation as to adaptation, which could assist on both ends.

In a nutshell, boosting preparedness is a costly venture, however Seychelles NDC strategy of a green economy not only diversifies funding streams, but further enhances resilience and boost preparedness towards natural disasters outside of relief programs, but with focus on infrastructural development and in country green practices.