Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Mobilising for Emergencies: Progress in Partnership

Real progress is being made in mobilizing African expertise to prepare for, and respond to, African crises. That was the focus of a recent conference (“Mobilising Human Resources and Skills in Emergencies: the Role of Non-Governmental, Private and Public sector in Africa”) held in Nairobi by the Commonwealth Secretariat, People In Aid and AfricaRecruit. The event brought together representatives from the public, private and non-governmental organisation sectors to identify what is needed and what can be offered in emergency situations.

John V. Rogers, Disaster Management Department, Office of National Security, Sierra Leone, shared the challenge of rebuilding after disasters, and harnessing limited resources of government and other stakeholders. He stressed that “disasters are unforeseen but their impact can, in a second, completely destroy the whole country - hence, governments, donors and other partners should ensure that disaster management is integrated into development programmes”.

In his speech, Hon. Musa Echweru (MP) Minister of State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Uganda, highlighted the need for strong collaboration and networking between NGOs, public and the private sectors in Disaster Risk Reduction. According to him, “each of these actors has a critical role to play, which can only be improved on through policies, adequate flow of information and proper coordination mechanisms”.

What will be the role of each sector to ensure that the two recommendations are achieved? Would outsourcing to a third party be an option as a model to strategic disaster preparedness and response, as James Du Plooy, Business Development Manager of Capital Outsourcing Group suggests? What is clear is that the progress made to date, and the only way further progress can be made in future, is through a new spirit of partnership.

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