On Tuesday 2nd March 2020, UNESCO and the Government of Japan officially signed the agreement for the commencement of the project: “Strengthening Disaster Prevention Approaches in Eastern Africa”. By providing substantial funding support, the Government of Japan has again demonstrated their commitment to UNESCO and the humanitarian and development needs of Africa.
From left, Mr. Kitagawa Yasuhisa (Representative of the Government of Japan) and Mr. Jayakumar Ramasamy (Representative of UNESCO) during the signing of the Agreement at the Embassy of Japan in Nairobi, Kenya.© UNESCO
In July 2019, the Natural Sciences Sector of the UNESCO Nairobi Office submitted a concept note on “Strengthening Disaster Prevention Approaches in Eastern Africa” to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ofJapan through the Embassy of Japan in Nairobi, Kenya following an official call for concept notes. The Government had pledged to support accepted projects through Japan’s Supplementary Budget (JSB). The JSB is one of the measures where the Government of Japan provides its year-mark contributions to projects for humanitarian or urgent development needs of targeted countries.
On 17 December 2019, the Government decided to provide USD 685,718 for the project following approval by the Parliament of Japan. On Tuesday 2nd March 2020, UNESCO and the Government of Japan officially signed the agreement for the commencement of the project. Representing Ms. Ann Therese Ndong Jatta, Director and Representative of UNESCO Eastern Africa, Mr. Jayakumar Ramasamy (UNESCO Senior Programme Specialist) expressed the appreciation of UNESCO to the Government of Japan for their continued support and commitment to the Sustainable Development of Africa. Representing the Government of Japan, Mr. Kitagawa Yasuhisa, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Japan in Kenya also reiterated that the Government of Japan is committed to supporting the humanitarian and development needs of the targeted countries. He expressed his enthusiasm about the outcome of the project and wished the team success in the implementation.
Recent projections predict extreme weather events for most parts of Eastern African countries. Few events such as the ongoing drought in the Greater Horn of Africa and the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that hit North West Tanzania, are some of the recent disasters whose impacts are still being felt in the regions. While mitigation measures are limited, technological solutions, citizen science and the development of strategic plans, policies and investment frameworks on disaster risk prevention and anagement offer opportunities for adaptation planning.
It is therefore the overarching purpose of this project to support the development and integration of science-evidenced artificial intelligent (AI) innovations, citizen science and gender-responsive actions into strategies and action plans for disaster risk reduction in schools, higher education, communities and public sector institutions in Eastern Africa. The results of this project are expected to yield three main outcomes/targets:
- At least three Science-evidenced AI and citizen science approaches adopted for DRR;
- At least five Policy decisions on AI, modern technologies and citizen science for DRR taken by countries based on UNESCO engagement and information dissemination; and
- At least 20 Institutions and community groups are trained and able to apply science-evidenced AI and citizen science best practices in DRR.
The project will be implemented within 12 months with the following as beneficiary countries: Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda.