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Training Academy for Early Warning Experts from IGAD, SADC and Member States Concludes

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From 22-25 November 2021, a four-day Training Academy on disaster risk reduction and early warning systems took place. Experts responsible for disaster risk management and meteorological/hydrological services from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), IGAD Member States, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), as well as Malawi, Mozambique, and the United Republic of Tanzania participated.

The Academy was co-organized by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (IGAD-ICPAC), the African Union Commission (AUC), UNDRR Regional Office for Africa and the CIMA Research Foundation. It is part of the Government of Italy funded project for the development of the continental multi-hazard early warning systems for early action. Under the auspices of the "Africa Roadmap for improving the Availability, Access and Use of Disaster Risk Information for Early Warning and Early Action."[1] The initiative aims to equip DRR practitioners from Member States in Africa with improved understanding and awareness for implementing and operating early warning systems for early action. This training academy will contribute to the capacity building for advancing disaster risk reduction agenda in Africa.

At the closing ceremony, H.E. Amb. Alberto Pieri, Italian Ambassador to Kenya said, "This training, in the context of the initiative funded by the Government of Italy, is the first step in a process. It creates an opportunity to mainstream the Continental Early Warning System into countries and to strengthen the operational cooperation between the African Union, the ICPAC Disaster Operations Centre, and its Member States. It is also an opportunity to get feedback from the countries on the products produced by the center and to tailor them to the user's needs to enable them to find solutions on how best countries can contribute to improve the early warning system. "

The training academy covered various topics ranging from institutional management, the application of key scientific tools, including the Legal and Institutional Framework for EWS, the Continental Watch, myDEWETRA platform, and common Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for collection, exchange, analysis and use of DRR data and information.

The training academy also facilitated the exchange of experiences among participants, where the focus of discussions were on the current floods in South Sudan, Kenya as well as on Somalia's current droughts, and Mozambique's 2019 Cyclones.

SADC showcased their early warning centre - SADC Climate Service Centre and the institutional setting for disaster preparedness and response planning. Based on the current progress, SADC is planning to further explore technology and innovation including the development of Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems for Early Action in the Southern Africa region.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) presented the anticipatory action (AA) system. The AA system connects Early Warning signals through pre-defined warning thresholds to a list of anticipatory actions and tested implementation arrangements. Relevant recommendations from the report "Early Warning and Early Action for Increased Resilience of Livelihoods in IGAD Region"[2] were shared.

Amjad Abbashar, Chief, UNDRR Regional Office for Africa in his closing remarks said, that this work on EWS-EA will lead to anticipatory actions. We hope to continue this important work with the current partners here today, but also aim to increase the road maps reach by expanding to West Africa-Sahel in order to achieve the overall vision of having a Continental MHEWS for EA"

"An effective early warning system for early action can be achieved through seamless efforts from all stakeholders", said Dr. Guleid Artan, Director IGAD-ICPAC. "We will be working hard to establish and operate similar situation rooms in IGAD Member States with support from partners. This will be a crucial opportunity to mainstream disaster risk reduction in our region and build resilience."

[1] https://www.preventionweb.net/publications/view/73818

[2] https://fic.tufts.edu/publication-item/early-warning-and-early-action-for-increased-resilience-of-livelihoods-in-igad-region/