Harsh Climate To Curtail DevelopmentApr 12, 2016
La Nina to wreck havock
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which works in nearly 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion has warned that climate extremes are likely to persist. According to the UNDP, climate extremes as of recent have caused drought and led to crop failures throwing millions of vulnerable people under severe food insecurity and also creating massive power cuts and spikes in food prices. Director of the UNDP Regional Service Center for Africa, Lebogang Motlana, during the UNDP Resident Representatives/UN Resident Coordinators Consultative Meeting in Gaborone stated that over the past several months, Africa has been experiencing an extremely strong El Nino with devastating effects especially in the Southern and Eastern regions. Motlana noted that the situation is not only leading many areas in the region into a humanitarian crisis but it has created serious repercussions on long-term development, threatening to undo developmental gains achieved over the past several years.
“What is even more distressing is the fact that climate scientists are telling us that climate extremes are likely to persist, and with even greater intensity and frequency. La Nina, a phenomenon that usually follows El Nino, and which is characterized by extreme weather but with reverse impact to the El Nino and which can be equally damaging, will likely wreak havoc on the latter part of the year and is expected to continue into 2017.”
He warned that if proper management and recovery from the current El Nino, the lack of preparedness and mitigation measures to the potential adverse consequences of La Nina will compound an already existing humanitarian situation resulting in more loss of lives and livelihoods and more suffering especially to the vulnerable groups.
Motlana said adopting a collective and coherent approach by authorities, UNDP, other UN agencies, development partners, and humanitarian actors, is key for addressing effective disaster preparedness. He also said it would mitigate the response, recovery, and the building of resilience to disasters and climate risks.
“It is in this context that the UNDP has a crucial role to play at regional and national recovery levels. The UNDP leadership in bringing together the UN, NGOs, and partners, behind Government authorities in responding to the impact of El Nino and more importantly to improve recovery efforts and La Nina preparedness provides an opportunity for coordinated action and improved resource utilization, building on and establishing complementarities.”
He emphasized that there is need to focus on early action and have a holistic approach to the management of disasters and climate risks with both humanitarian and development actions inextricably linked and providing a fluid transition towards the strengthening of capacities and resilience of households and communities to safeguard lives and livelihoods. “However, we have to validate and ensure that this strategy is reflective of the situation on the ground and that it bodes well with national intervention, preparedness and response strategies,” he said.
Source: The Business Weekly & Review ,BOTSWANA