AU to Establish African Risk Capacity Secretariat

African Union (AU)5 August 2012: The African Union (AU) has agreed to establish an African Risk Capacity (ARC) Secretariat, a specialized agency to develop an agreement on a pooled risk insurance facility for droughts, floods, earthquakes and cyclones in Africa.

The decision to establish the ARC was taken at the 19th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU, which convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 16-19 July 2012. In the decision, the AU also requests the African Union Commission (AUC) to convene a meeting of government experts, and a conference of plenipotentiaries before the end of 2013 to consider and adopt the ARC establishment agreement. The ARC is to be established as a Specialized Agency of the AU.

Welcoming the decision, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) noted that the ARC will use satellite weather surveillance technology and software developed by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), to trigger fast-disbursing funds after calculating the cost of food needs for countries hit by drought. African Governments currently rely on international emergency aid, which commonly arrives between three to six months after the onset of the crisis. It is hoped that through the ARC, costs of intervention will be calculated quickly, triggering the disbursement of funds to the effected governments within two to four weeks of drought detection. [UN/ISDR Press Release] [African Union Decision] [African Risk Capacity Website]