Promoting Age-Inclusive ResilienceOct 13, 2014
Ethiopia commemorated the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) on 13 October 2014 by organising a high level conference on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) to highlight the needs of older people and call for an age-inclusive resilience building measures.
The theme for the IDDR 2014 ‘Resilience is for Life’ underscores that resilience can be built by applying older persons’ lens to DRM programming and bringing to bear their lifetime of experience and wisdom. The elderly can make significant contributions to all stages of disaster risk management activities, from assessing risks to operationalising responses and recovery. Many of them take care of children while the parents are working and contribute significantly to families’ incomes in their communities. Others have essential roles as community leaders and holders of community-based knowledge and tradition. This will benefit not only the older persons themselves but also their families, and their entire communities.
“Reducing our risks from disasters is not just good programming to ensure development gains are sustainable,” noted UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Eugene Owusu in his opening remarks at the IDDR 2014 event. Research in Kenya and Ethiopia shows that early drought preparedness activities are close to three times cheaper than emergency response. Other studies have highlighted that they might be up to 36 times more cost-effective. This indicates that reducing disaster risks also makes good financial sense.
Boosting resilience is also priority for Ethiopia and the government has placed inclusive and proactive disaster risk management at the centre of its development agenda. “Ethiopia is committed to invest in all-inclusive DRM and to consider the special needs of older persons, and other vulnerable groups, during the formulation and implementation of policies, strategies, plans, and programmes which aim to manage disaster risks and build resilience,” emphasised State Minister Mitiku Kassa from MoA in his remarks.
The IDDR has been celebrated in Ethiopia for five consecutive years. This year, the event was organised in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) in the Ministry of Agriculture. UNDP’s involvement in the event was part of its broader strategic support to DRM in Ethiopia through interventions that seeks to enhance institutional capacity to create and encourage climate-smart, sustainable DRM actions and practices which will protect lives and safeguard livelihoods of all vulnerable groups, including older persons, against any future shocks and stresses.