Harsh Climate To Curtail Development

Apr 12, 2016

Team Leader climate change, Disaster Risk Reduction and Energy, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa Mr Aliou Dia and Director of the UNDP Regional Service Center for Africa, Mr. Lebogang Motlana

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