UN supports DRM in Namibia

The Government of Namibia recently requested the United Nations, to undertake a skills audit of the National Disaster Risk Management (DRM) System of the country. In response, the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI) Partnership organized a scoping mission, with the objective to clearly define the scope, thematic focus, modality and timeline of engagement in Namibia.

The scoping mission has recommended that capacity assessment of the DRM System in Namibia, examine among others, the following elements: coordination roles and responsibilities, institutional structures/relationships, skills and competencies, planning instruments and processes, typology for disaster and climate risks, benchmarking and monitoring system as well as public-private partnerships for resilience and risk reduction.  

The capacity assessment of the DRM system entailed identifying existing capacities, gaps and needs of the DRM a skills audit of the Directorate of DRM, establishing the required versus needed capacities for DRM and providing recommendations on how these capacities were to be achieved. In addition, the CADRI team was requested to develop a Capacity Development Plan for the DRM system based on the recommendations.

Some of the initial findings indicated that Namibia has strong capacities and understanding of disaster risk management issues and experience to respond thereon. However, the country is less equipped to resilience response, where capacity training in this and other areas is required and where the UN can play a role. There is a need for improvement in the coordination of disasters (for example, the current focus by the Directorate of DRM is more on emergency response than on strategic coordination).

The findings also highlighted limited capacities, processes, systems for coordination within the Directorate DRM and with line ministries and other stakeholders.  There is a call to review the systems, if they are to support the clear, well-structured and sophisticated existing legal frameworks. Also, structures at the central and decentralized levels were not necessarily communicating with each other, resulting in failure for actions agreed upon to be undertaken at policy level.

In order to validate these and other findings as well as to map out the way forward, the CADRI team plans to return to Namibia in September 2016 for a validation session to be held at Ministerial level. The UN will once more be invited to participate in this validation process and is expected to indicate their areas of support. Equally, the UN Agencies in Namibia have been requested to advocate regionally, to obtain further and broader support for the sustenance of DRM interventions in the country.