Extreme weather events undermine livelihoods of 60m people

New York, 19 July 2016 – “For many of the poorest and most vulnerable, extreme weather events linked to climate change could put the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at risk”, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has said.

Mr. Ban Ki-moon was addressing a High Level Political Forum on El Nino and Climate held on 19 July in New York. “From the dry corridor in Central America, to the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa, to the Pacific Islands and South-East Asia, El Niño has caused droughts and floods that have devastated communities, undermining the livelihoods of more than 60 million people,’’ the Secretary General said.

“Working together to reduce disaster risk was an important thread running through last year’s political achievements: The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change”, Mr. Ban said.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries contending with a severe drought caused by the El Nino effect. The country is also prone to the whims of nature due to climate change. The combination of a successive failure of two agricultural seasons (2014/2015 and 2015/2016) and forecasts for La Niña induced flooding in the later part of 2016 will have a serious consequence on the livelihoods of the rural Zimbabwean at least until the next harvest in 2017.

According to the latest Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee report issued in mid-July 2016, the El Nino induced drought has so far crippled the livelihoods of 4 million rural Zimbabweans.

The UN in Zimbabwe has been calling on humanitarian and development partners to increase their financial and in-kind assistance to mitigate the humanitarian situation and ring-fence the progress made in revitalising social services in the country. So far, $107 million has been mobilised against the total request of $360 million in the current Humanitarian Response Plan (April 2016-March 2017) reaching 1.8 million vulnerable people.

The Zimbabwe Humanitarian Response Plan developed in a collaborative manner, involving Government, UN, development and humanitarian partners, non-governmental organisations, aims to provide relief to 1.8 million most vulnerable rural Zimbabweans. The Humanitarian Response Plan which follows a sectoral approach prioritizes: Agriculture and food security; health and nutrition; water, hygiene and sanitation; education; protection; and coordination.

Click here to read the statement by the UN Secretary General