This month FAO together with other UN Agencies working on disaster risk reduction, implemented multiple activities to commemorate the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction which took place on 13 October. Previous publication on the disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the context of the agriculture sector made references to the DRR platforms established in Trebinje and Kakanj municipalities.
According to the third edition of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’(FAO) report on The Impact of disasters and crises on agriculture and food security which was released earlier in 2021, between 2008 and 2018 agriculture – including crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture – absorbed 26% of the overall impact caused by medium- to large-scale disasters in low- and lower-middle-income countries. It is worth mentioning that the impact of drought which is also pertinent to the context of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is borne almost exclusively by agriculture – this effect on the crops and livestock is disproportionate relative to all other sectors of the economy. 82% of all damage and loss caused by drought was absorbed by agriculture in low- and lower-middle-income countries between 2008–2018. The majority of the population groups which are most vulnerable to natural hazards (including climate extreme events) are food insecure, poorer families and small-scale farmers, herders, fishers and tree-dependent communities who rely on agriculture and natural resources for their food, incomes and livelihoods.
On 27 - 28 October 2021, FAO Country Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina organised training workshop in Neum municipality for the officials of the 10 municipalities, namely Kalesija, Bihać, Sanski Most, Kakanj, Gradačac, Banja Luka, Prijedor, Trebinje, Bijeljina and Srebrenica. This was the sixth training workshop organised by FAO within the framework of the wider Joint Swiss and United Nations (UN) Programme “Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development in BiH”. The programme revolves the functional multi-sectoral local DRR platforms which were established in all 10 municipalities and that brought together representatives of relevant institutions from the civil protection, agriculture, education, social and child protection and health sectors.
During the workshop the participants, who are members of the local DRR platforms established, learned:
- Why disaster risk reduction is important for agriculture;
- What disaster risk reduction entails and what some of main components of DRR are;
- What the four Sendai Framework priorities are and how they link with the FAO’s work on DRR, and
- What the key elements of disaster risk governance and planning, disaster risk assessments and the implementation of agricultural good practices for DRR are.
“I believe that the FAO training for municipal authorities and partners is a step forward in understanding and managing disaster-related risks. The workshops will equip the participants with necessary skills in development planning and policy-making, while also enabling them to improve internal systems, capacities and processes of local self-government in the agricultural sector”. Alen Zaimović, Programme Coordinator for the Joint DRR Programme "DRR for Sustainable Development"
Evidence suggests that pro-active disaster risk management and prevention have proven to be more effective solutions than mere reactive disaster response. The DRR management measures in the agriculture sector can be classified into (1) preventive (e.g. establishing early warning systems, risk reducing technologies, such as drought-resistant seeds, local disaster prevention plans, vaccination of animals), (2) mitigation (e.g. strategic fodder and seeds reserves, insurance schemes), and (3) preparedness (e.g. issuing hazard warnings and alerts, moving animals and seeds to safe places, stocking food, fodder, water and basic medical/veterinary packages). Whereas the response and recovery measures include distribution of seeds, fertilizer, fishing equipment, livestock feed, veterinary medicines, farm tools and machines; training and equipping community animal health workers to save livestock under the former and restoration and rebuilding of small-scale agricultural and rural infrastructure, irrigation systems, livestock shelter, training to farmers on improved or new flood/drought-resistant seed varieties under the latter. According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction data, every US$1 invested in risk reduction and prevention can save up to US$15 in post-disaster recovery.