Comoros, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Reunion Island , Zanzibar/Tanzania, European Union, French Development Agency, Australian Government, UNISDR, World Bank
Objective & Description
The partnership focuses on strengthening the capacity of the islands of the Indian Ocean member of the Indian Ocean Commission and Zanzibar Island of the United Republic of Tanzania to reduce their vulnerability, exposure and protect the population of the region against loss and damage that result from catastrophic events. Recognising that Madagascar, the island of Reunion, an overseas department of France and Zanzibar are not considered as Small Island States, these islands are as vulnerable and are challenged with the same or similar climatic and natural disasters as the three small island States, Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles.
Since 2010 the Indian Ocean Commission has embarked in actions to promote regional integration and cooperation to reduce the financial impact of catastrophic risk (both natural and climatic) and to improve the capacity of the island nations to build resilience to disaster and climate change. Through its regional projects, ISLANDS funded by the European Union and the Regional Disaster Management Program funded by the French Development Agency, the Indian Ocean Commission has managed to attract other partners such as the Government of Australia, the UNISDR and recently the World Bank to support the regional initiatives. The partnership has also seen the emergence of island nations, specifically the Government Mauritius, contributing financially to the actions of the Commission in support of capacity development in the neighbouring islands affected by disasters.
The partnership is expecting to build the capacity of the Governments and Non-Government entities in the focus islands (Comoros, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Zanzibar of the United Republic of Tanzania) to acquire the knowledge, knowhow, methodology, tools and technology for disaster management and build the capacity for disaster reduction at national level. It seeks to build the institutional capacity of the Civil Protection Services and national stakeholders in the coordination mechanism for disaster management, strengthen capacity of the national institutions such as Ministries Education for mainstreaming climate change and disaster risk reduction in the educational system. Recognising the increasing risk, the partnership will seek to integrate measures for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into national planning and investment, raise the awareness of the Ministries of Finance strengthen the capacity of the relevant institutions to put in place information systems on loss and damage that would allow decision making. It is expected that the partnership will help Governments to draw up a scientifically sound probability index of future disasters with estimates of the damage for result oriented measures for disaster risk reduction and disaster management. Additionally in the long run, lead Governments and the private sector to increased risk sensitive planning and investment. The partnership also seeks to support regional arrangements, improve communication and share experiences as well as the feasibility of introducing a regional system or risk insurance, known as risk financing and transfer mechanism which will enable governments and the private sector to make sound decisions to ensure the sustainability of their investment among the island nations and to that effect, a regional platform comprising of Government and private sector has been put in place.The partnership will also allow countries to strengthen their response capacity and put in place regional mechanism for mutual assistance and cooperation in event of major disaster.
Governance & Coordination Mechanisms
The partnership is coordinated by the secretariat of the Indian Ocean Commission. Reports on the actions are made available to the partners on regular basis. A national focal point and thematic focal points are nominated in each island State to facilitate coordination of action at national level. A regional program steering committee under the leadership of the IOC is in place to follow up and guide the activities. The steering Committee meets once a year. A dedicated regional platform for financial protection against catastrophic risk comprising of regional experts from the Government and private sector is also in place. This regional platform meets twice a year is chaired by the Madagascar and co-chaired by the Seychelles.
The secretariat of the Indian Ocean Commission reports on the activities of the programme to the Governments via the Permanent Liaison Officers meeting twice a year and to the Council of Ministers once a year
The partnership is implemented through projects. The activities to be carried out are implemented through annual work program and guided by thematic experts recruited by the Indian Ocean Commission. The priority actions to be implemented are driven by country need. Collaboration with national institutions, e.g. Universities, specialised institutions etc…are also established to ensure national commitment and for sustainability of actions. The program is organised in such that countries learn and benefit from the experience of one another. For instance, Madagascar which is not a SID yet vulnerable and the most affected by natural disasters, cyclones in the region, would share its experience and knowhow to the other island nations.
Arrangements for Capacity Building and Technology Transfer
Capacity building needs are assess at the start of the program. National training on data collection and the tools requires are conducted. Regional training on DESINVENTAR and CAPRA to allow countries to put in place their national databases and undertake national country risk profile are conducted. Collaboration with national Universities such as the University of Seychelles for Training in climate change and the University of Reunion Island for Master Degree Programme in Earth Observation.
Regional simulation exercises for preparedness to disasters in partnership with non-States are conducted with regional partners. Data collection and land management training has also been conducted
The application of earth observation data and aerial photograph are also used. These images are made available to the countries and on hands training in the analysis of such data are conducted. The program work in close collaboration with the Civil Protection and Disaster Management Centers in each focus island. All national data, reports, digital maps and information collected are hosted in a national institution identified by the respective country. An electronic information exchange platform is being developed to allow access for continuous updating and interactions among the focus islands.