More than 48 senior government officials from ministries responsible for planning, agriculture, environment, health, disaster management and mitigation units from 17 COMESA member countries will meet in Lusaka from July 23-24 to discuss the Regional Resilience Initiative on climate change.
The meeting aims at supporting member states to strengthen their policy and coordination mechanisms and develop national resilience policies that will guide resilience building and project implementation at the member state level.
Speaking in Lusaka, ahead of the meeting, the COMESA climate change coordinator, Dr Mclay Kanyangarara, says most COMESA member states have no clear frameworks of managing risks that come about with the changing climate.
"Therefore governments find themselves diverting resources allocated to much needed developmental projects and programs to deal with the effects of the disasters thereby trapping many in a vicious cycle of poverty and underdevelopment," he said.
Kanyangarara added that the most common effects of climate change in COMESA member countries include prolonged droughts, flooding, extreme rainfall and disease outbreaks, pests and diseases among others.
"To attain its regional integration goals, many systems in the region such as shared water courses, energy, transport, communications and financial systems must be interconnected," he added.
Some of the effects that are being felt on the continent to be discussed include disasters and shocks such as cyclones, flooding, landslides, droughts, disease epidemics, heat waves, wars, civil unrest, among others.
Shocks like cyclones Idai and Kenneth have already been felt in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe causing more than 1,000 deaths, infrastructure and property damage running into billions of dollars with 90% of the key port city of Beira submerged for weeks among others.