UNMIL Deputy SRSG calls for disaster prevention in the West African region
Monrovia - On July 5, UNMIL Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Peace Consolidation, Yacoub El Hillo challenged countries in the West African region to put in place systems that can help avert disaster.
“Some of the calamities that have befallen the region, including health epidemics are preventable disasters,” said DRSG El Hillo at the opening of 11th Annual Consultation of the Regional Committee for Disaster Management in West Africa (GECEAO) meeting in Monrovia.
“The threat of recurrence is always there but it is mitigated by the ability of national institutions to detect and also affectively respond.” added Mr. El Hillo.
The DSRSG noted that countries in the region have adequate knowledge and insight to prepare and respond collectively to disaster based on lessons learned over recent years. He encouraged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to play a leading role in the coordination of member states, development of early warning systems and in the development of national capacities towards the disaster prevention.
The GECEAO Network comprises the heads of Disaster Management Agencies or directors of Civil Protection from ECOWAS countries, including Mauritania, ECOWAS countries’ and representatives from the regional Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The three-day forum will evaluate the plan of action of the ECOWAS Humanitarian Policy (2012-2017) and identify key follow-up actions and commitments after the World Humanitarian Summit. It is also a platform to share best practices for emergency response and preparedness at national level and, to reinforce coordination between national disaster management agencies and private sector for disaster response.
Also present at the meeting were Liberia’s Minister of Internal Affairs Dr. Henrique Tokpa, CGECEAO Chairman, Mr. Aristide Dagou, the Director of Humanitarians & Social Affairs, the ECOWAS Commission and Ms. Florence Iheme.