"El Niño is not a one-off event", says UN
The international community must boost efforts to build the capacity for disaster risk management and readiness to prevent El Niño weather extremes from causing humanitarian crises in affected countries and impeding their development, the President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said today.
“We must remember that El Niño is not a one-off event but recurring global phenomena that we must address for future generations and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said ECOSOC President Oh Joon at the opening of a special meeting on Impacts of the 2015/16 El Niño phenomenon: Reducing risks and capturing opportunities at UN Headquarters in New York.
“All partners, the United Nations, international and regional organizations, civil society, the private sector and the scientific community, need to take coordinated and fortified action to tackle El Niño risks,” he added.
Mr. Oh underscored that since 2015, the world has witnessed the largest El Niño occurrence to date, with many developing countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific suffering under its “devastating and far-reaching impacts”.
“Extreme weather conditions have become more frequent with climate change, bringing droughts, fire, destruction of agricultural production, poor health and diseases, and displacement of people all over the world. These conditions also affect commodity prices and the prospects for sustainable development,” he stressed.
Noting that El Niño is a good example of climate change affecting the livelihood of people, the ECOSOC President said that Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau have all declared states of emergency due to drought conditions from El Niño, while Malawi has declared “a state of disaster.”