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Uganda Red Cross Society Hosts 2nd National Dialogue on Anticipatory Action

“Together, we must manage disaster Some of participants of the 2nd National Dialogue on Anticipatory Action pose for a group photo with the state Minister for Environment , Beatrice Atim Anywar, (seated 2nd left in a blue jacket) at the opening event on 22nd May at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

risks effectively through multi-sectoral collaboration,” said State Minister for Environment, Beatrice Atim Anywar, at the opening of the 2nd National Dialogue on Anticipatory Action, hosted by the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS).

This event, held in collaboration with the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Food Programme (WFP), took place at Speak Resort Munyonyo from May 22nd to 23rd, 2024.

The theme, “Navigating Uncertainty: Disaster and Climate Risk Financing,” underscored the urgent need for proactive disaster management strategies in Uganda.

The dialogue began with Minister Anywar’s call to action and concluded with insights from the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees, Eng. Hilary Onek. Distinguished attendees included Dr. Brian Kanaahe, Director of Disaster Risk Management at URCS, representing the Secretary General, FAO Representative in Uganda, Antonio Querido, Abdirahman Meygag, the World Food Program country representative and other esteemed partners.

Dr. Brian Kanaahe, Director of Disaster Risk Management at URCS seated with the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees, Eng. Hilary Onek at the 2nd National Dialogue on Anticipatory Action, on 22nd May at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

Minister Anywar emphasized the necessity of multi-sectoral collaboration to manage disaster risks effectively.

“As government, we’re committed to adopting robust action, but we can’t do this alone. We call upon partners to come together for the shared goal,” she stated.

She also underscored the importance of encouraging communities to plant economically beneficial trees, such as coffee, to combat climate change and boost livelihoods.

Minister Onek highlighted Uganda’s initial steps in the anticipatory action journey, citing the establishment of the country’s first hazard maps and a multi-hazard contingency plan.

“This conference is very relevant because anticipatory action must be taken. About six or seven years ago, we developed hazard maps showing what kind of disaster can happen in what part of the country, depending on climate conditions,” he explained.

Onek stressed that proactive measures are more cost-effective than reactive responses, revealing that Uganda has incurred substantial losses, amounting to an estimated 1.4 trillion Shillings in recent years.

Dr. Brian Kanaahe, Director of Disaster Risk Management at URCS, noted that over 215,000 individuals were affected by various disasters in Uganda in 2023, with 47,000 displaced.

He highlighted the urgent need to harness technology to enhance early warning systems and develop robust financial mechanisms to support anticipatory actions across the country.

FAO Representative Antonio Querido emphasized the importance of proactive action in enhancing the country’s resilience to disasters and climate risks.

“It requires us to shift our focus from responding to shocks after they have already happened to intervening in advance of a predicted shock through preventative and anticipatory actions,” he said.

WFP Country Representative Abdirahman Meygag highlighted the importance of leveraging early warning systems and pre-arranged financing mechanisms.

“By anticipating disasters before they strike and acting swiftly, we can not only save lives but also preserve livelihoods, build resilience, and pave the way for sustainable development,” he stated.

Anticipatory Action (A-A) has emerged as a cost-effective and efficient strategy for addressing natural disasters. Its affordability makes it viable for Uganda, which often struggles with insufficient disaster response and preparedness budgets.

Organizations such as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, WFP, and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are championing A-A initiatives worldwide.

While A-A has demonstrated effectiveness, challenges persist in scaling it up for comprehensive disaster risk management. Policy reforms and concerted efforts are needed to address these challenges.