2018/19 El Niño Response Plan for Southern Africa | Short version

2018/19 El Niño Response Plan for Southern Africa | Short version
Feb 2019

Farmers and agropastoralists across Southern Africa are facing El Niño conditions for the second time in three years. This is occurring in a region where the most vulnerable are still grappling with the impacts of a strong drought episode in 2015/16, which had already weakened their capacity to produce food. Since then, the knock-on effects of climatic shocks and associated poor harvests, coupled with unfavourable economic conditions such as food price volatility, are expected to leave over 10.5 million people in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phase 3 and 4) levels of food insecurity in early 2019.

Important lessons were learned from the 2015/16 El Niño, in particular the need to act early on possible early warning signs. FAO has been closely monitoring the El Niño conditions and related weather patterns in Southern Africa, and is gearing up to act early to mitigate some of the effects on vulnerable people and their livelihoods. There is a critical window of opportunity for mitigation in the region, with early actions that ensure enhanced surveillance and control of plant and animal pests and diseases, access to appropriate inputs and use of innovative approaches to increase farmer awareness of climate-smart agricultural practices.

Under the framework of the 2018/19 El Niño Response Plan for Southern Africa, FAO will employ an important lesson learned from the previous El Niño episode: linking early action to medium- and long-term interventions, in order to increase the resilience of agriculture-based livelihoods to future climatic shocks and stressors.

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