Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A two-day high-level gathering on localisation of effective disaster management was recently organised by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, The Gambia Red Cross Society, National Disaster Management Agency and the Economic Community of West African States, at Senegambia Beach Hotel in Kololi.

Funded by the European Union, the gathering targets to equip authorities with knowledge of ECOWAS and IFRC tools (DW handbook, 2018-2022 plan of action, ECOWAS assessment tool, IDRL guidelines, model act and the checklist for domestic preparedness and response). It also aims to encourage consultation on the elements of the DM Handbook towards its finalisation; share progress in the field of disaster law at regional and national levels over the past 10 years; stimulate discussion on the localisation of aid through legal facilitation of international response and empowerment of local capacities; and development of ideas and prosperity areas for future work on disaster law in consideration of existing DM legal frameworks.

Gambia Red Cross Society program manager Abdoulie Fye said they are confident that Gambia will soon legislate the disaster law for effective and efficient coordination of international disaster response and train all the humanitarian actors and government authorities on the law for its smooth implementation.

Maria Martinez, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Africa region disaster law programme coordinator said as co-conveners of the localisation work stream within the Grand Bargain Initiative, the IFRC is committed to strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of the humanitarian ecosystem by increasing international investment and respect for the role of local actors (both government and non-governmental) in humanitarian response, particularly those at community level.

Sanna Dahaba, executive director of the National Disaster Management Agency said they are building a truly proactive attitude towards risk reduction and called on all actors to invest in risk reduction. He urged government institutions to mainstream such priorities into their departmental policies.

Alasan Senghore, secretary general of The Gambia Red Cross Society said; “We all have obligations to support government in ensuring that they adhere, respect and contribute to the implementation of policies and developed legal frameworks.”

Mr. Senghore said in Africa, there is a syndrome of panic when disasters strike, saying at the Red Cross, they are committed and willing to help government push through the legal process.

Saikou Gassama, Permanent Secretary Number 1 at the Office of the President said he believes that the objectives of the gathering would help put different government departments and stakeholders at the same level about the happenings and investments in disaster reduction from legal, political, technological social and economic perspectives with the ECOWAS sub-region and beyond.

Author: Cherno Omar Bobb

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