African Risk Capacity and ECOWAS sign memorandum of understanding to strengthen West African climate resilience

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ABUJA, Nigeria – The African Risk Capacity (ARC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are collaborating more closely to build resilience against climate-related disasters in West Africa.

As global climate negotiations are underway at the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Convention in Germany, ARC and ECOWAS are taking a significant step to strengthen their partnership and amplify the impact of their work in disaster risk management, ensuring that the increasing risks of weather-related perils are addressed earlier and more effectively.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between both institutions took place on the margins of the ECOWAS Annual Development Partners Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, setting a course for closer collaboration on political, technical, and financial grounds. The partnership with ARC aligns with critical aspects of the ECOWAS Policy for Disaster Risk Reduction, with particular emphasis on the linkages with regional Agricultural Policy and climate change adaptation initiatives of ECOWAS.

Through this partnership, ECOWAS will further heighten awareness among West African nations of ARC’s work in assisting governments prepare for and respond to disasters effectively. The advocacy will be matched with an exchange of knowledge, data, and methodologies of early warning and climate risk financing mechanisms between ECOWAS and ARC. It will also include exploring innovative methods to use Africa RiskView, ARC’s early warning software to drive earlier response to disasters and assisting West African nations to access funding to join ARC’s insurance risk pool.

Mr. Mohamed Béavogui, Director General of ARC stated “ARC has a strong history in West Africa – of the 15 ECOWAS Member States, 14 have signed the ARC Establishment Agreement. In 2015, when ARC launched its first climate insurance risk pool, Senegal and Niger held drought insurance policies with ARC and received pay-outs of US $20 million collectively following the failed rains of 2014. Increasingly climate risks are a driver of security concerns in West Africa and this partnership is geared toward building our resilience but also ensuring that by responding earlier, such security risks are diminished”.

Earlier this year, ARC held a regional Lessons Learned workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to take stock of the rich experiences of West African governments in working with ARC and launching disaster risk financing initiatives. In this workshop, ARC Member States recommended that ARC align more closely with regional disaster reduction and resilience-building programmes.

“This partnership between ECOWAS and ARC is a positive step for ECOWAS Member States” said Mr. Béavogui.

ARC Director General Mohamed Béavogui and ECOWAS President Marcel de Souza formalize partnership to collaborate on improving disaster risk management in West Africa. Photo: ECOWAS

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