The 26th Southern African Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-26) was constituted by climate scientists from SADC Member States (MS), SADC’s Climate Services Center, the African Centre for Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) and Global Producing Centres (GPCs). During the forum, climate experts forecasted that the region is likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall during the period of October 2022-March 2023. Considering the high storage level of dams (85.3%), the expected rainfall season suggests an early release of water from dams and an ensuing possibility of elevated flooding risk in the region.
Based on the SARCOF-26 forecast, the SADC Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Unit convened the “2022/23 SADC Seasonal Disaster Preparedness and Response Planning Workshop“ from 19-21 October 2022 to take stock of and reinforce the region’s disaster preparedness level.
The workshop aimed at the following summarized objectives to:
- Deliberate on early warning information (including SARCOF-26 forecast) and their implications as well as review national preparedness and response capacities and gaps in disaster preparedness and response for the 2022/23 season,
- Share experiences and lessons on Early Warning Systems (EWS),
- Identify roles and responsibilities of regional partners (SADC, Regional Inter-Agency Coordination) to support the SADC region, and required actions of regional and humanitarian actors necessary to fulfil the gaps in both, the immediate (3-6 months) and longer term (>6 months),
- Explore ways of strengthening partnership between the SADC Secretariat, Member States and international partners for effective DRR, preparedness and response.
In pursuit of its project objective of supporting risk-informed development and improved risk governance, by enhancing capacities and skills of selected decision-makers and regional organisations and initiatives in Southern Africa (Asia and Latin America), the GIZ Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) participated during the workshop”. Detailed discussions along “Anticipatory Action Approaches”, with the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), International Federation for Red Cross (IFRC) were complemented by an update on the operationalisation of the SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operation Centre (SHOC).
Key observations and take-aways form the workshop are:
- All SADC MS have downscaled the regional into the national seasonal forecast and identified risks.
- SADC MS have developed preparedness and response measures for the season albeit with different naming (e.g. “tropical cyclone readiness plan”, “contingency plan”, “national incident emergency management plan”, etc.) and funding implementation challenges.
- Risk-informed development is being embraced by MS as a concept for risk preparedness, prevention, and mitigation and accompanied by calls for resource allocation for improved application of, among others, risk knowledge management, risk governance, capacity building, infrastructure retrofitting.
The above issues resonate with the support provided by GIZ/GIDRM to the SADC DRR Unit: The value chain mapping seeks to enable SADC’s Member States to apply the disaster risk management cycle for improved preparedness, response and recovery in face of hazards and risks. The SADC DRR Unit emphasized the need to integrate EWS and preparedness planning into national frameworks, policies and strategies as well as to promote alignment and agenda coherence along regional, national, provincial and municipal levels.
- SADC DRR Unit
- SADC Climate Service Centre
- African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development
- SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (SHOC)
- WMO - Southern Africa Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF)
Image source: ©GIZ