We must avoid the repeat 2015/16 El Nino Experience and plan and prepare for 2018/19 Impending El Nino
‘El Niño will be back – we must avoid a repetition of the 2015/16 experience. We must anticipate the impacts and prepare to respond now’
23 August 2018. SARCOF-22 Lusaka, Zambia.
CARE and FANRPAN welcome the opening of the Southern Africa Regional Climate Forum (SARCOF-22) and note, with concern, the prediction of an El Niño season for the region. The two organisations hope that governments in the southern Africa region, and their partners, will agree on and implement practical actions to avert the impacts of this weather phenomenon. Since the forum is taking place some months before the onset of the rainfall season, the region has an opportunity to plan and ensure readiness to deal with predicted impacts.
CARE’s Deputy Regional Managing Director, Ms. Michelle Carter noted that the 2015/16 El Niño severely threatened the food and nutrition security status of the southern Africa region, and that the effects are still being felt today. Reacting to the announcement of the impending El Nino Ms. Carter said, “We hope SARCOF-22 will devote ample time to developing appropriate advice and coping strategies, so that the region is better prepared than in the past. We are hoping for solutions that will, in particular, protect women and girls as they are disproportionately affected by climate change and extreme weather events”
It is anticipated that the Southern Africa Regional Climate Forum will develop downscaled climate forecasts capable of informing decision making at regional and national levels. Accurate information on climate is important for agriculture, especially to small-scale farmers as it serves as a guide to their investment decisions.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), Munhamo Chisvo, user-friendly climate information is key to the performance of African agriculture. Mr. Chisvo highlighted the importance of information on climate to small-scale farmers. He said, “If the continent is to successfully transform its agriculture, SARCOF should invest towards developing and presenting climate forecasts in formats that are understandable and usable by small-scale farmers. This means that governments must invest to localize climate information and, subsequently, reach out to farmers to create awareness on the impending implications” He further advised,” Climate information to small-scale farmers and related value-chain actors should be provided early, tailored to suit their agro-ecological zones, and ensure that information provided by various sources is consistent, in order not to confuse farmers”
The Advocacy and Partnerships Coordinator for CARE, Mr. Vitumbiko Chinoko observed that the El Niño is a major phenomenon capable of disrupting the social and economic fabric of the region. Mr. Chinoko suggested that centrally funded and coordinated approaches across the different countries were necessary to deal with the effects of the El Niño phenomenon. He said, “Governments should take steps to review their national budgets and allocate resources to manage the impacts and manifestations of El Niño on affected communities, especially on women and children”
Care International is a confederation of 14 member and 4 affiliate organizations working together to end poverty. In Africa CARE is working in 27 countries implementing poverty fighting development and humanitarian aid projects. In 2016 Care International reached out to 80 million people directly and 256 million indirectly. Care International focus is women and girls because we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities. Website: www.care.org
The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) is a pan-African network that provides independent evidence to inform policy processes at national and regional levels. FANRPAN’s membershipincludes food, agriculture and natural resources (FANR) related government departments, parliamentarians, research and farmer organizations, private sector, civil society organizations and the media. Website: www.fanrpan.org
For more information contact:
- Vitumbiko Chinoko, CARE Southern Africa, Advocacy and Partnerships Coordinator
- Lufingo Mwamakamba, FANRPAN, Policy and Partnerships Manager,