‘Isles now in loss control phase of climate change’


Mr Agricole addressing the delegates and guests

Principal secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Energy Wills Agricole said this yesterday when he launched the third meeting of the Regional Platform for Risk Transfer Mechanisms at the International Conference Centre.

The meeting is being attended by delegates from Indian Ocean island nations and representatives of Zanzibar.
Seychelles – through President James Michel’s actions and statements at international forums – has been active in trying to warn the world that the effects of climate change would come sooner than many thought and action and not just words was needed.

Mr Agricole showed this has already happened by quoting recent disasters which have hit most of our regional countries:
“I want to caution that we are no longer in the mitigation and adaptation era. We are now in a loss and damage era. This is evidently shown by the recent increase of natural disasters affecting the countries within the western Indian Ocean region,” he said.

“During the last three months it was Seychelles, the last three weeks it was Mauritius and the last three days it has been Rodrigues Island … and now the big question is; who is next?
He told delegates if we are going to value the hard work of all government economic plans within the region, the delegates’ presence at the two-day conference is equally important because they are the ones responsible to ensure what has been achieved economically faces less risk and is less vulnerable to natural disasters.

Mr Agricole said after witnessing the launch of the joint project and cooperation of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), the Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) on the disaster risk transfer mechanisms on Monday, the conference he launched yesterday is timely as it sustains the momentum that is critically needed now to progress and make the necessary improvements.

It is needed for the governments to cope with the challenges they now and will in the future face if capacity is not built to tackle the pre- and post-disaster prevention and recovery.
“We were told on Monday that the direct losses due to natural disasters in the five member countries of the Indian Ocean Commission represent nearly US $2.8 billion over the past 30 years. This is quite alarming and therefore, risk reduction strategies have to urgently be put in place to tackle such threat. Hence we have to develop tools to mitigate the economic impact of natural disasters through what is called risk transfer mechanism.”

He said over the last 10 years, most small island states have gradually set up preventive and preparatory measures against natural and climate disasters.

“However, although these measures generally helped to reduce the loss of lives, economic losses did not stop increasing simply because our societies are more and more vulnerable. This is why members of the regional platform comprising Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zanzibar recognise that the implementation of disaster risk transfer mechanisms requires the adoption of specific evaluation processes and risk modelling, and that risk reduction and risk financing strategies can only be set up after the execution of such processes.”

He said this is why the Indian Ocean Commission has engaged with the GFDRR and UNISDR and their partners to support the ISLANDS/IOC project to realise its goal of risk transfer mechanisms, in developing a better understanding of financial impact of natural disasters, and in helping the project to develop a database and modeling tools for risks.

The delegates and guests in a souvenir photo

The meeting is being chaired by Colonel Mamy Razakanaivo. Among those present at the opening session were Jeanette d’Offay who represented the IOC’s secretary general, Roberto White of the UNISDR, analyst Laura Boudreau who was working for the Disaster Risk Financing & Insurance and the GFDRR of the World Bank; and disaster risk management coordinator Doekle Wielinga of the African Risk Capacity project.

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