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Ramp up efforts to strengthen resilience: UN

 

Climate resilient farming innovated and practiced by the tribal farmers of Odisha, India. Photo: Basudev Mahapatra

Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara
Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara
Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara
Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara

Bhubaneswar |

Last updated 07 Jul 2016 18:41 +0530

  El Nino, La Nina, United Nations, Climate Change, Resilience
Scientists are predicting an increasing likelihood of the opposite climate phenomenon, La Niña, developing. This will increase the probability of above average rainfall and flooding in areas affected by El Niño-related drought, whilst at the same time making it more likely that drought will occur in areas that have been flooded due to El Niño.
 

Top United Nations officials have called for governments and the international community to ramp up efforts to strengthen resilience and safeguard livelihoods in the wake of El Niño's devastating effects suspecting that likely impacts of the developing La Nina phenomenon would worsen the situation in most parts of the globe.

“Scientists are predicting an increasing likelihood of the opposite climate phenomenon, La Niña, developing. This will increase the probability of above average rainfall and flooding in areas affected by El Niño-related drought, whilst at the same time making it more likely that drought will occur in areas that have been flooded due to El Niño,” a news release from the UN said.

Failure to prepare for and adapt to the 'new normal' of increasing climate-linked emergencies such as El Niño could put global development targets at risk and deepen widespread human suffering in areas already hard hit by floods and droughts, UN officials warned at a meeting of UN agencies and its partners in Rome on Wednesday, July 6, 2016.

The warning from the heads of the three Rome-based UN agencies, along with the newly-appointed UN Special Envoy on El Niño & Climate, the agencies, was based on a projection that about 60 million people worldwide and 40 million in East and Southern Africa alone are to be food insecure due to the impact of the El Niño climate event.

The agency chiefs also urged greater preparedness to deal with the possible occurrence later this year of a La Niña climate event, closely related to the El Niño cycle that has had a severe impact on agriculture and food security. The Horn of Africa, Southern Africa, Central America's Dry Corridor, Caribbean islands, Southeast Asia and Pacific islands have been hit the hardest.

The UN estimates that without the necessary action, the number of people affected by the combined impacts of the El Niño/La Niña could top 100 million.

Highlighting the enormity of El Niño’s impact on agricultural livelihoods, Director-General of Fund for Agricultural Development (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, said, “With La Niña on the doorsteps the situation could worsen.”

Quotation starts

We do not have the luxury of time. Our development and humanitarian systems need to be deeply integrated, climate-proofed and fit for purpose. A failure to deliver on this mission will have ripples felt for generations.

Quotation ends

[Indian farmers lost their crop due to the El Nino resulted drought of 2015. Photo: Basudev Mahapatra]

"Farms have failed, opportunities for work have evaporated, and nutritious food has become increasingly inaccessible for many communities," said Ertharin Cousin, World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director.

Describing the condition marginalised farmers of developing nations live in, IFAD Associate Vice-President Lakshmi Menon said, "Small-scale farmers in rural areas are disproportionally impacted by these natural disasters because many of them depend on rain-fed agriculture for their lives and livelihoods, and they do not have the capacity to bounce back from shocks.”

“We need to invest in building their long-term resilience so when the next El Niño and La Niña cycles hit, they are better prepared and can continue to grow food for their families,” she stressed.

“This is not a matter to put to one side for another day, we do not have the luxury of time. Our development and humanitarian systems need to be deeply integrated, climate-proofed and fit for purpose. A failure to deliver on this mission will have ripples felt for generations. If we do not succeed we will be letting down the people that need us most,” said UN Special Envoy for El Niño and Climate, Ambassador Macharia Kamau.

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