El Niño: Impacts and Priorities for Action - Event Summary, One-day El Niño event, Rome, 17 March 2016

Introduction

On 17 March 2016, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) hosted a one-day meeting on El Niño Impacts and Priorities for Action. The event was well attended by representatives of member states, resource partners, UN agencies and NGOs, among others.

Opening remarks were given by the Director General of FAO and high-level representatives from WFP, OCHA and IFAD, stressing the need for collective action to address the impact of the current El Niño, and also future El Niño/La Niña events. It was highlighted that a multi-stakeholder approach is required, bringing together national governments, humanitarian and development stakeholders at both national and international levels , donors and the private sector. Collective investment to meet current funding gaps while supporting longer-term flexible funding mechanisms was recommended as well as developing functioning early warning-early action systems and building resilience to future shocks.

Presentations by a keynote speaker, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), FAO, WFP, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and several representatives from Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) outlined the current El Niño event and its multi-sectoral impacts. The afternoon sessions of the event focused on the preparedness and response strategies within the four most affect regions: Southern Africa, East Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia and the Pacific. Based on the presentations and discussions throughout the day, the event concluded with a joint statement by the hosting four agencies which summarized the key issues arising from the event and stated joint commitments to strengthen early response to, and mitigation of, future El Niño events.

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