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Investing to reduce disaster risk protects development gains

Natural hazards caused more than USD 17.2 billion worth of infrastructure, agricultural and economical damage to the Union of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zanzibar collectively since 1980. The region’s largest island, Madagascar, remains one of the most economically and geographically impacted countries in the world from natural disasters. In the region, although recent catastrophes have generally resulted in less damage than this, their impact has still been considerable.

Through the ISLANDS project, funded by the European Union, the Indian Ocean Commission has embarked in actions to promote regional integration and cooperation to reduce the financial impact of catastrophic risk — both natural and climatic — and to improve the capacity of the island nations to build resilience to disaster and climate change.

A better understanding of risk to develop predictive tools

The ISLANDS project has set up an innovative regional programme -  called The Islands Financial Protection Programme (IFPP) — for five of the member states and island territories that will allow governments of the concerned countries — Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Zanzibar of the United Republic of Tanzania — to mitigate the potentially devastating financial consequences of natural disasters that strike periodically these vulnerable countries. The IFPP is carefully thought out and designed with the support and collaboration of UNISDR and The World Bank.

More comprehensive, reliable data to guide government policy decisions

Using the most recent and most reliable methodology to draw up scientifically valid risk assessments of future disasters, with estimates of the specific damage they would cause, the programme aimed to build the capacity of the Governments and Non-Government entities to acquire the knowledge, knowhow, methodology, tools and technology for disaster management and build the capacity for disaster reduction at national level.

Promising results

National teams of experts have been trained since 2012 in collecting information to build realistic loss databases and to establish accurate risk profiles. Participating countries have implemented their risk-sensitive budget review that enables them to estimate the investment needed in risk management and risk reduction.

Governments are now able to make informed budgetary decisions concerning the financing of measures to reduce the impact of disasters,resulting in more efficient allocation of funds and a saving in investments.Across the region, DRM-marked investments ranged from 2% to 7% of the national budgets studied. According to this analysis, the greatest proportion of DRR investment to date occurs in Mauritius. The mainstreaming of DRR concepts is high in Seychelles and Zanzibar.

The programme has been successful in providing the technical basis for establishing more efficient disaster risk reduction policies. However, much remains to be done in order to consolidate this foundation and make the tools fully operational. The decision on increased investment with respect to public policies remains in the hands of the government.

“Natural hazards will always be an integral part of our life in the Indian Ocean. We cannot stop cyclones, droughts and floods from happening, and climate change is now increasing the damage they inflict on our communities. However, through our decisions and actions, we can play a critical role in preventing such hazards from turning into deadly and economically devastating disasters”, concluded Hamada Madi, Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission 


  • Themes:Economics of DRR, Social Impacts & Social Resilience

  • Short URL:http://preventionweb.net/go/52400

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Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

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