Civil Society Organisations Must Embark on Early Action Planning for Disasters and Other Crisis

The National Focal Point in Ghana for the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR), Ms. Grace Commey, has called on civil society organisations and other stakeholders to embark on Early Action Planning so as to minimize the impact of severe and extreme weather and climate events.

She said this during a workshop organized virtually by the network on Tuesday, April 26, for civil society organisations and other stakeholders in Ghana.

The workshop was organized to train civil society organisations and other stakeholders on ‘ Early Action Planning’ for Disasters.

During the workshop, she recommended contingency planning as a precondition for governments and humanitarian organisations to ensure timely and effective assistance to those most in need both in advance and when disasters occur.

She however identified several factors that make preparing in advance difficult for communities and civil society organisations.

Such factors include; the difficult access to know- how to utilize available forecasting information in order to access and predict the future, narrow stakeholder participation which limits society engagement, limited use of community microgrants to enable community led responses to disasters and finally, weak or non- existent local platforms for contingency planning.

She also recommended some innovative approaches that foster local engagement in addressing root causes of disasters and crises over the long- term. First is the implementation of early warning systems to stimulate early actions and contingency plans.

She said “Forecasting experts need to be engaged at the local level to support the process of developing local impact tables and defining potential trigger indicators based on locally available information including community- based early warning systems “.

This, she said, will enable gaps and weaknesses in forecasting services to be identified and strengthened in coordination with relevant agencies.

She also recommended that contingency planning, whether at the national, local or community level, must be an inclusive and participatory process that engages all first responders. This according to her will encourage ownership and accountability among community members and other stakeholders.

It will also ensure effective communication of plans and also help to take into account available capacities for community- led anticipatory action and response.

Ms. Grace Commey called for the establishment of group cash transfer mechanisms for local preparedness, anticipatory action and response to disasters. She also called for the strengthening and establishment of local platforms connected to national platforms.

She anticipated a partnership in the near future, between the Ghana Chapter of the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR) and the Diakonie Katastropenhife with the purpose of implementing such initiatives in Ghana.

By Martha Osei- Bobie

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