The SADC Secretariat says it is ready to provide regional coordination with all its partner institutions in order to alleviate the socio-economic challenges we are facing as a result of the current climatic situation.
SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration, Dr Thembinkosi Mhlongo made the remarks at the SADC Consultative Meeting on Preparedness and Response to the Impact of the 2015/16 El Niño on Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Security in Southern Africa sheld from 25th to 26th February 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Estimates by the SADC Early Warning and Vulnerability Assessment systems indicate that up to 28 million citizens of the Region, about 10% of the total population, are already food insecure as a result of the poor harvest in 2015.
“The number of people living on less than a US$1 a day has also increased. In addition, the rates of malnutrition which are already high are becoming worse. Current estimates indicate that the majority of our Member States have stunting rates of higher than internationally acceptable 20% of the population,” she elaborated.
On its part, Mhlongo said SADC has undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at improving disaster preparedness in the region.
“You may be aware that every year the Secretariat organises the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) which gives advance information on the expected rainfall performance and serves as a key component in the regional early warning system,” she stated.
The SADC Secretariat also organises the Pre-season preparedness planning workshop, a platform on which disaster risk reduction authorities from SADC Member States deliberate on contingency plans for the upcoming season, based on inputs from the SARCOF.
According to the Deputy Executive Secretary the platform is monitored through monthly updates on agro-meteorology posted on our websites during the season, culminating into food security and vulnerability assessments which are presented to Council and Summit every August.
The meeting was attended by senior officials from 13 SADC Member States namely; Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Representatives from the humanitarian, development and donor communities, academia, NGOs, farmer unions and the private sector and the UN were also present.
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