Urgency for AU member states to ratify risk agency treaty

The African Union’s disaster management agency urged member countries to consider ratification of risk agency treaty as a matter of urgency.

The presentation was done in Midrand, Johannesburg during the Third Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament.

African Risk Capacity (ARC) Agency representative who spoke on behalf of Director General Mohamed BEAVOGUI said only few countries had ratified the treaty making it a serious challenge for ARC to protect member states against natural disasters.

Key stakeholders say it is time for countries to build resilience strategies and graduate from past decades tendencies of reliance on humanitarian actors and budgetary allocations.

The ARC was established to provide a comprehensive and integrated approach to tackling the impacts of natural disasters on vulnerable populations on the continent. It launched an insurance product for member states through its financial affiliate and is the only insurance company in Africa addressing natural disasters.

Mr. Beavogui says if Mozambique had signed the treaty, it would have benefited from ARC’s disaster insurance pool following cyclone idai.

He further clarified that no country would be allowed to subscribe for membership of ARC insurance if they do not have a contingency plan in place.

On the contrary and despite being a successful initiative, there are still concerns over prevailing challenges and risks that the ARC is facing. ARC has recognised the importance of broader and holistic disaster risk management approaches in building resilience and risk reduction infrastructure.

“Although there is a growing interest in ARC insurance products and services, Members States still face significant challenges and constraints in participating in the mechanism, especially in mobilizing funds for paying for premiums thus ensuring consistent participation in the insurance pool,” Mr. Beavogui said.

Hon. Yeremai CHIHANA, a Malawian Legislator commended ARC saying it had proven to be a major component to meaningful response to the impacts of extreme weather and natural disasters in Africa. Hon. Afina KAWOOYA on the other hand called for preventative intervention mechanisms as opposed to reactionary measures.