A network of Civic Organisations working in Southern Africa took it upon themselves to reflect on one-year after Cyclone Idai. The regional conference which is themed, “After Idai and Kenneth – Rethinking the SADC Community Disaster Preparedness, Response & Recovery Model”, is co-organized by Southern Africa Trust (SAT), Southern Africa Youth Forum (SAYoF), SADC Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (SADC-CNGO), Centre of African Philanthropy and Social Investment (CAPSI), Oxfam, Amnesty International, National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO), and Action Aid.
The meeting which is taking place in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland Province was officially opened by the Minister of State for the same Province, Dr. Ellen Gwaradzimba. In her statement, she acknowledged the role of stakeholders such as civil society in working with governments in SADC to respond to climate change, map strategies for resilience and mitigation.
“After Idai, our focus has been the restoration of infrastructure such as roads, restoration of livelihoods, including agriculture. We are focusing on re-planning so that we have sustainable settlement patterns, early warning systems for our people to be alert and equipped on disaster preparedness and have adequate knowledge on climate change mitigation.
We believe that this regional dialogue will address the questions on climate change, climate resilience, vulnerability and disaster preparedness recommendations to governments in Southern Africa” Dr. Gwaradzimba noted.
The meeting was also addressed by representatives of Southern Africa Trust (SAT), Chief Executive Officer Masego Madzwamuse, and Amnesty International representative Lloyd Kuveya who emphasized the need for community-oriented solutions and human rights approach in dealing with future disasters.
The SADC Member States have been implored by communities’ representatives from Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe to develop an improved plan on resilience, adaptation, recovery, and mitigation. The cyclones caused catastrophic damage in the region, leaving more than 1,300 people dead and many more missing and more than 3 million people were affected, out of which 1.85 million people were in Mozambique.
The Southern Africa Youth Forum (SAYoF), one of the stakeholders representing youth in the region, in 2019 launched the Climate Change Youth Negotiator Program, https://youtu.be/eOV6_rI5YCI and mobilized young people to take action on climate change during the Global Climate Strike Week. The Negotiator program will capacitate youth in SADC to take action on climate change and to be effective negotiators to represent their countries and communities on climate issues.