SIERRA LEONE HOSTS THE FIRST APRM REGIONAL CAPACITY BUILDING AND EXPERIENCE SHARING WORKSHOP ON STATE RESILIENCE TO SHOCKS AND DISASTERS
PUBLISHED BY: APRMPOSTED: 19-08-2021
Freetown, August 13, 2021. In partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Secretariat held its first Regional Capacity Building and Experience Sharing workshop on State Resilience to Shocks and Disasters, from 13-14 August 2021, at the Freetown Convention Centre, Freetown, Sierra Leone. The high-level APRM delegation was composed of Prof. Eddy Maloka, CEO of the APRM Continental Secretariat, Dr. Honoré Mobonda, Member of the APR Panel representing the Chairperson, Amb. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika, Lead Panel Member for Sierra Leone, Dr. Valery Yao, Project Coordinator, Mr. Jibril Ibrahim, APRM ICT Officer, Mrs. Arlette Yemek, Panel and Focal Point support Officer and Mr. Hassan Mahamat Ahmat, Researcher.
Experts from key ministries with the portfolio of disaster risk management from ten (10) APRM Member States, namely Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Sierra Leone participated in the workshop. The workshop was facilitated by APRM and its partner institutions, namely the African Union (AU) Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Regional Office for Africa (UNDRR-ROA), the World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa Region, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, the Asian Disaster Risk Reduction Center (ARDC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Sierra Leone, including the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA).
The APRM Focal Point of Sierra Leone, Amb. Foday Yumkela warmly welcomed the participants. After conveying his sincere appreciation to the H.E. Julius Maada Bio, the Focal Point, the Government and the people of Sierra Leone, for hosting the first ever Regional Capacity Building and Experience Sharing workshop, Prof. Eddy Maloka emphasised that over the decades, Sierra Leone has demonstrated both an unflitching commitment to the APRM translated into fully functional APRM structures, and resilience to different shocks and disasters such as war, the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) as well as Covid-19. Such commendable practice is worth sharing with the rest of the world.
In his virtual statement, Dr. Ambrose Talisuna encouraged Member States to build emergency preparedness, build resilient capacity in the health systems and in the overall system capacity and monitor the functionality of the political system in order to safeguard the lives of citizens even in times of pandemics, shocks and disasters. While expressing support to building state resilience in Africa, Mr. Amjad Abbashar, the Chief UNDRR Regional Office for Africa UNDRR emphasized that achieving the Sendai Framework is of paramount importance and therefore the establishment of a continental early warning system in Africa as well the domestication of the Sendai Framework in Africa are positive advances in the DRR agenda on the continent.
Dr. Honoré Mobonda lauded Sierra Leone for the premium it had placed on the implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction policies in the country. With reference to the current Covid-19 context, Ms. Abigail M. Renner, the Chairperson of the Sierra Leone NGC urged member States to prepare as ‘failing to prepare is planning to fail’. She concluded her statement by indicating that Sierra Leone has gone through a series of disasters and shocks, including floods, civil war, the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and recently Covid-19, and these should be cases studies for experience sharing and peer learning. Amb. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika, Lead Panel Member for Sierra Leone, commended the efforts of the Government of Sierra Leone which are contained in the Targeted Review Report and wished participants fruitful deliberations.
Prof. David John Francis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, warmly welcomed all the participants to the historic city of Freetown highlighted Sierra Leone as a shining example in the preparedness in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, a model for other countries around the world. Such success was the result of the progressive liberal governance model established by H.E President BIO. Sierra Leone has successfully demonstrated its remarkable resilience and ability to bounce back better in the aftermath of the civil war. As a result of these efforts, the country is highly rated on the Peace Index.