Mapping Africa
Mapping Africa Image source: Al Jazeera

African countries have been urged to establish stronger data and evidence to better understand and plan for future risk and monitor progress of global and continental development targets.

The call was made by experts and policymakers on Tuesday during a high-level seminar organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to mark the Africa Statistics Day at the ECA’s headquarter in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa under the theme “Everyone Counts: Quality Statistics for Better Management of Forced Displacement in Africa.”

“With strong data and evidence, African governments and partners are better equipped to understand and plan for future risk and to monitor progress of development frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union (AU)’s Agenda 2063,” Kafkas Caprazli, Information and Management Specialist at the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), told the high-level seminar.

The FAO official also emphasized the crucial importance of strong data and evidence in monitoring the progress of the Sendai Framework as well as the Paris 21 Climate Agreement.

The Sendai Framework is a 15-year, voluntary and non-binding agreement which recognizes that “a state has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.”

“Importantly they (African countries and partners) will also be in a better position to address displaced people’s needs,” said Caprazli, while delivering presentation on the nexus between migration, agriculture, food security and rural development.

“The challenges of data on forced migration are interlinked,” he said, adding “a systemic approach that involves international standards and improves cooperation, coordination and data interoperability is vital if African governments and partners are to fully understand, prevent and address forced migration when policymaking, planning and risk reduction for achieving aspirations of the 2030 Agenda and 2063.”

According to Caprazli, appropriate tools allow countries in Africa and beyond “to develop sustainable approaches to ending displacement.”

He also stressed that the African Statistics Day “is an opportunity to remind us that the priority for now is providing national and local authorities with the financial and technical capacity building support they need to apply them.”

Edem Kossi Kludza, an associate statistician with the African Centre for Statistics at the ECA, also shared Caprazli’s comments, as he noted that nearly one person is “forcibly displaced every three seconds on the continent as a result of conflict, violence and disasters.”

“The main reasons of the displacements are conflict, armed conflict, war, violence, persecution, fear of reprisals, political uncertainty, bad governance, social injustice, human rights violations, lack of opportunities, natural disasters, climate change, health emergencies such as the Ebola outbreak, food insecurity and extreme poverty,” Kludza said.

According to Kludza, in 2018 alone, every second refugee was a child, accounting for 111,000 — many of whom were displaced alone and without their families, in which Uganda alone reported during the same year that 2,800 refugee children aged five or below in the country were alone, separated from their families.

Africa Statistics Day was marked in line with the African Union’s 2019 theme “The Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.”

The theme recognizes the need for Africa to address the main factors that lead to forced displacement, in particular conflicts and violence, natural disasters and climate change, food insecurity and extreme poverty, and social injustice and bad governance. Enditem

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