ZAMBIA - As a move to address the impacts of El Niño on agriculture and food and nutrition security, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has organised a two-day multi-sectorial stakeholder consultative meeting to develop a regional readiness and response strategy.
El Niño, which 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, has affected most of the countries in SADC.
The meeting, which started yesterday in South Africa, is expected to be attended by 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.
SADC secretariat communications and awareness expert for water sector Barbara Lopi said other participants include representatives from the humanitarian, development and donor communities.
“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,” Ms Lopi said in a statement availed to the Daily Mail on Wednesday.
She said the meeting is being organised with support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP).
The meeting will 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.
Ms Lopi said the gathering will also 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.
It is also expected to review and endorse a regional scenario for southern Africa.
March 2, 2016; https://www.daily-mail.co.zm/?p=60442