We must avoid a repetition of the 2015/16 experience, anticipate the impacts and prepare to respond now

Lusaka, Zambia. CARE and FANRPAN welcome the opening of the Southern Africa Regional Climate Forum (SARCOF-22) and note, with concern, the prediction of an El Niño season for the region. The two organisations hope that governments in the southern Africa region, and their partners, will agree on and implement practical actions to avert the impacts of this weather phenomenon. Since the forum is taking place some months before the onset of the rainfall season, the region has an opportunity to plan and ensure readiness to deal with predicted impacts.

“We hope that SARCOF-22 will devote ample time to developing appropriate advice and coping strategies, so that the region is better prepared than in the past. We are hoping for solutions that will, in particular, protect women and girls as they are disproportionately affected by climate change and extreme weather events.”

Michelle Carter, CARE’s Deputy Regional Managing Director,

It is anticipated that the Southern Africa Regional Climate Forum will develop downscaled climate forecasts capable of informing decision making at regional and national levels. Accurate information on climate is important for agriculture, especially to small-scale farmers, as it serves as a guide to their investment decisions.

“If the continent is to successfully transform its agriculture, SARCOF must invest in developing and presenting climate forecasts in formats that are understandable and usable by small-scale farmers. This means that governments must invest to localise climate information and, subsequently, reach out to farmers to create awareness on the impending implications. Climate information to small-scale farmers and related value-chain actors should be provided early, tailored to suit their agro-ecological zones, and be consistent amongst various sources, in order not to confuse farmers.”

Munhamo Chisvo, Chief Executive Officer of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

“Governments must take steps to review their national budgets and allocate resources to manage the impacts and manifestations of El Niño on affected communities, especially on women and children.”

Vitumbiko Chinoko, Advocacy and Partnerships Coordinator for CARE