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SADC to convene a meeting to prepare its response to the impact of El Niño

Masvingo deport, one of the strategic storage facilities for livestock survival feed in Zimbabwe. Photo ©FAO/ Believe Nyakudjara

24 February 2016, Johannesburg - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat will this week convene a two-day multi-sectoral stakeholder consultative meeting to develop a regional preparedness and response strategy to address the impacts of El Niño on Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Security in Southern Africa.

The El Niño phenomenon is caused by warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the eastern Equatorial Pacific and is usually associated with reduced total rainfall over a shorter period than normal across the region. In a region where over 70 percent of the population depend on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihood, the El Niño event has greatly   impacted on food and nutrition security of millions of vulnerable people.

Some 165 delegates from the agriculture, environment, food and nutrition, disaster management, climate change, water, health, planning and finance sectors from the 15 SADC member states are due to participate in the meeting which is being organised with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP). Other participants include representatives from the humanitarian, development and donor communities.

The meeting is being convened to help form a common understanding of El Niño and agree on essential actions and commitments on how to best prepare, respond and mitigate its impact through a coordinated, multi-sectoral regional approach. The meeting will be held at the Southern Sun OR Tambo International Airport Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa from 25 – 26 February 2016 to:

  • provide a platform for member states and other stakeholders to share information on the impact of El Niño on agriculture, food and nutrition security, and other key sectors including health, water and sanitation;
  • review and endorse a regional scenario for southern Africa, including the most likely and worst case effects of El Niño over six months, and the possible impact of a future La Niña weather event later in 2016;
  • review and make recommendations to enhance national and regional preparedness as well as multi-sectoral programmes for short-term and resilience response actions to the El Niño and possible La Niña weather event; and
  • identify and agree on regional coordination and mitigation actions for the SADC Secretariat to pursue with the member states.

For more information please contact 

Barbara Lopi | Communications and Awareness Expert - Water Sector | SADC Secretariat, Private/Bag 0095 Gaborone, Botswana | Tel: +267 395 1863 (Ext 1790) | Cell: +267 72112560 | blopi@sadc.int

Edward Ogolla | Communications Officer for Southern Africa | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations | Tel. +263772438877 | Mobile. +27 712311474 | Edward.Ogolla@fao.org

David Orr | Communications Officer for Southern Africa | United Nations World Food Programme | Tel. +27 11 517 1577 | Cell: +27 82 908 141 | david.orr@wfp.org

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