Cowater supporting the implementation of a disaster risk reduction framework across Sub-Saharan Africa News

11 October, 2019

Cowater International has been contracted to support gender mainstreaming under the Building Resilience to Natural Hazards in Sub-Saharan African Regions, Countries, and Communities Program. Together with the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), Cowater is facilitating the effective implementation of a comprehensive disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster risk management (DRM) framework at the regional level in Sub-Saharan Africa.

As such, Cowater is working with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The goal is to develop Gender Strategies and Action Plans for disaster risk reduction in each of the four RECs as an essential aspect of building resilience to natural hazards that is inclusive to all segments of society, given the different vulnerabilities of women and men.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is faced with frequent and growing incidents of crisis caused by droughts or intense bouts of rainfall” notes Mark Redwood, Vice President Water, Climate and Environment at Cowater. “The resulting food insecurity and flooding has a great impact on lives and property, and women and children often bear the brunt of the consequences. This program will help address this reality by improving action plans to focus on where they can support their members states in making a difference. Solutions include early warning systems, better social protection, and more investment in livelihood choices and options.”

This gendered analysis of disaster risk management provided by Cowater will highlight the different vulnerabilities of women, men, girls and boys, based on their levels of exposure, sensitivity, and ability to cope, adapt, and respond to the impacts of natural hazards. This will ensure that the DRR and DRM framework developed will adequately identify solutions that are equitable and reach the most vulnerable.

To achieve this, Cowater is applying a collaborative approach that works in alignment with REC and African Union (AU) strategies, policies, protocols, and plans. It supports REC leadership in gender mainstreaming and enables inclusive consultation with a range of stakeholders from government, private sector, civil society and academic organizations.

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