UNDG Regional Workshop for the African and Arab Regions Explores Integrated Approaches to Mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction, Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change
Climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters have direct impacts on the livelihoods of people. To address linkages between these three areas and mainstream them in country programming, the UN Development Group (UNDG) Task Team on Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Rio+20, in collaboration with several partners, organized a regional workshop for the African and Arab regions from 20-24 June 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop brought together members of UN Country Teams who are embarking on the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) roll-out process. It is the first in a serious of three regional workshops scheduled in 2011 which will also cover Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.
In his opening remarks, Mounkaila Goumandakaye, UNEP Regional Director for Africa, highlighted that the workshop was timely given that several UN Country Teams in Africa had just embarked on developing new UNDAFs, working in collaboration with partner governments and stakeholders. The workshop aimed at enabling participants to identify opportunities and tools for mainstreaming environmental sustainability (ES), climate change (CC) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) in these processes. Alexander MacKenzie from Canada, who led the workshop together with a diverse facilitation team from across Africa, emphasized that “this workshop is not a formal top-down training, but rather creates opportunities for participants to share their experiences”.
Through hands-on ‘Country Clinics’, UNCT representatives presented opportunities and challenges in their UNDAF development processes and gathered feedback and advice from their peers. Good practices that were identified through the discussions include, for example, the need to align UNDAF priorities with national development challenges; focusing on areas where the UN has a comparative advantage; and leveraging expertise from other specialized agencies in the area of CC, ES and DRR.
The content of the workshop was based on three interrelated UNDG guidance notes:
- “Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into the CCA and UNDAF” (2009);
- “Mainstreaming Environmental Sustainability in Country Analysis and the UNDAF” (2009); and
- “Integrating Climate Change Considerations in the Country Analysis and the UNDAF” (2010).
Throughout the event, representatives from a range of international organizations provided background information and introduced supporting resources and experiences. Samba Harouna, Coordinator of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Africa, Cecilia Njenga, Head of the UNEP Liaison Office in South Africa, and Francis Battal, Deputy Head of the Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), shared their insights on how to effectively use the guidance notes. Jacqueline Olweya and Caroline Mueke, Regional UNDG Team Secretariat for Eastern and Southern Africa, outlined the technical and strategic support regional UNDG teams are providing to UNCTs throughout the UNDAF development and implementation process. Amrei Horstbrink, UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), introduced resources available through the One UN CC:Learn initiative to support country-driven processes to strengthen learning and skills development in the area of climate change.
The three regional workshops are organized by the UNDG Task Team in cooperation with the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI), UNEP, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) through the Bureau for Development Policy and the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, the Secretariat of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), UNITAR (with resources from UN CC:Learn), and the UN System Staff College (UNSSC). The workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean will take place in Panamá, 11-15 July 2011, and the workshop for Asia in Bangkok, 25-29 July 2011.
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