The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Mieux reconstruire à la suite d’une catastrophe climatique

Allocution de Jorge Moreira da Silva, Secrétaire général adjoint des Nations Unies et Directeur exécutif de l’UNOPS, lors de l’événement intitulé « Mieux reconstruire à la suite d’une catastrophe climatique » organisé par l’UNOPS à la COP28 (en anglais).

[Check against delivery]

Excellencies, esteemed guests, colleagues,

A very warm welcome to you all at the UNOPS COP28 pavilion, and to this event.

It is a pleasure to have this very important conversation with you all - on the need to build back better after climate disasters.

The year 2023 has once again laid bare against our eyes the increased frequency and devastation caused by climate disasters.

From the catastrophic floods in Libya to the tragic wildfires in Hawaii. Precious lives are lost. livelihoods are devastated and communities need years to build back.

The number of people affected by disasters has increased by 80 percent since 2005, according to the Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Across Africa - climate change and its effects—such as extreme temperatures, droughts, and floods pose a serious threat to the development of the middle and low-income countries, preventing progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Fragile and conflict-affected are particularly vulnerable in this regard.

West and Central Africa, for example, experienced one of the worst flooding disasters on record in 2022. The Horn of Africa is suffering its longest and most severe drought on record.

And as we all know - climate disasters tend to hit the most vulnerable, hardest. In fragile states, three times more people are affected, per year, by natural disasters, than in other countries.

Humanitarian needs in Africa are already vast and recurrent. Climate change, natural hazards, conflict, and economic shocks (such as food and fuel price spikes) severely undermine growth, reverse hard-won development gains, and increase poverty and insecurity. Humanitarian crises result in displacement of people and widespread loss of life and livelihoods affecting the ability of communities to recover.

For communities already vulnerable, every shock, whether it’s a climate-induced disaster or the next conflict, creates further cycles of vulnerability, making them less able to cope with the next shock.

Because of the interconnected nature of vulnerabilities, our response too needs to be collaborative and coherent. And I find the concept of a nexus - between our humanitarian, development and peacebuilding activities, really helpful here. In very simple terms, the nexus means that we work better together, to address the root causes of vulnerabilities, responding to immediate needs while working towards building resilient and peaceful societies.

Early recovery is a crucial moment in this regard. While humanitarian assistance saves lives and alleviates immediate suffering, the early recovery sets the direction for a better future.

At UNOPS - our experience has shown us the importance of this moment- to channel recovery response towards building back better.

The joint early recovery effort that took place in Zimbabwe in response to Cyclone Idai is a case in point here. Here, we implemented a unique partnership between the World Bank and the UN to address the early and medium-term resilient disaster recovery needs of communities affected by Cyclone Idai. This involved working with UNICEF, FAO, WHO, WFP, IOM, UNFPA and UNESCO, “delivering as one” to build the foundations for regional recovery and longer-term resilience.

The approach here was to help the community not just to recover what was lost - but be able to mitigate future shocks. The many partners involved here - both local and international - understood that we need a holistic approach to build resilience, one that has a focus on reducing risks, promoting gender equality and climate action.

There were many lessons learnt in this project - and this panel offers a great chance to learn about the important achievements, but also setbacks faced in this work.

UNOPS has been supporting its partners for more than a decade to implement their projects aligning its work with the United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDCF)’s nexus approach.

When emergencies happen, we assist our partners and communities to respond, recover, and rebuild from crises and conflicts.

And we stand ready to support our partners and communities across Africa in the critical task of building back better while fostering inclusive recovery.

À lire également