SADC Ministers Address El Niño’s Sectoral Impacts

May 14, 2024 – In a virtual gathering, ministers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) responsible for Agriculture, Energy, Water, and Disaster Risk Management convened to deliberate on the sectoral impacts of the El Niño phenomenon. This meeting, held ahead of the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government, was chaired by His Excellency General Eugénio Laborinho, Minister of Interior of the Republic of Angola.

General Laborinho expressed grave concern over the widespread effects of El Niño, particularly water scarcity, which has significantly heightened food insecurity in the region. Emphasizing the reliance of the SADC economy on agriculture, he called for solidarity and coordinated efforts across sectors to address the drought and floods induced by El Niño.

The Executive Secretary of SADC, His Excellency Mr. Elias M. Magosi, highlighted the interconnected impacts of El Niño, noting that reduced water levels have led to extended electricity load shedding in several Member States. This energy deficit has adversely affected the socio-economic structure and productivity of the region. Magosi stressed the necessity of inter-ministerial collaboration to foster integrated planning and harmonized interventions, aiming to mitigate the drought and flood impacts which have left an estimated 56.8 million people food insecure in the SADC region.

The meeting included representatives from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), and Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET). These discussions served as a precursor to the upcoming Council of Ministers meeting on May 19, 2024, and the Extraordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government on May 20, 2024, where the humanitarian crises triggered by El Niño will be further addressed.

This collaborative approach underscores the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to combat the severe impacts of climate change phenomena on the SADC region, ensuring that food security and economic stability are preserved amidst ongoing environmental challenges.

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