Building resilience to disasters and conflicts

Addressing the linkages between the environment, conflict and peacebuilding provides a critical opportunity for UNEP in Africa to positively influence the development process. A long-term vision must support:

  • African governments to develop resource policies with a positive impact on their national economies and to implement open, transparent and equitable governance of natural resources;
  • Building a coalition for action through strengthened institutional architecture and regional cooperation to address conflict prevention and resolution;
  • Early warning and early action in countries that is vulnerable to conflicts over natural resources and environmental issues;
  • Improving oversight and protection of natural resources during conflicts;
  • Addressing natural resources and the environment as part of the peacemaking and peacekeeping process;
  • Harnessing natural resources for economic recovery;
  • Mainstreaming environmental issues within humanitarian operations in order to minimize possible environmental impacts and ensure they do no harm with regard to longer-term sustainability and development.

As related to disasters in Africa, the priority areas for support are:

  • Improving identification and assessment of disaster risks. It is imperative that the reduction of risks is viewed as a continuous set of activities across social, economic, governmental and professional sectors. Activities within these sectors need to be integrated into planning, recovery plans and development strategies that enables and encourages widespread exchange of information;
  • Strengthening collaboration and coordination across regionally based structures that include government, UN, donors and civil society. The conflict-disaster interface, which is strongly linked in many countries, will also be better understood and responses better coordinated through inter-agency structures;
  • Advocating DRR in the high-level environment related conferences including African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and African Council of Water Ministers (AMCOW) meetings;
  • Establishment of partnerships with national and local stakeholders and the private sector, building on the network of partners and their capacity to engage in project activities such as awareness-raising workshops and training events in project pilot demonstration sites;
  • Strengthening regional and trans-regional networks in mitigating and responding to man-made disasters.