Rome Meeting Addressing El Niño’s impact on Central America’s Dry Corridor

Date: Thursday 30 June 2016, 9:00-12:30
Event: High-level meeting at FAO in Rome

The El Niño climate event is having a devastating impact on agriculture in Central America’s Dry Corridor where one of the worst droughts in decades has left 3.5 million people food insecure. In the most affected countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras some 2.8 million people are dependent on food aid.

The Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have organized a high-level meeting in Rome on 30 June 2016 to focus on the urgent need for long-term action to address the impact of El Niño, including building resilience for food security and nutrition for the most vulnerable populations in the affected countries.

El Niño and its counterpart La Niña occur cyclically, but in recent years, mainly due to the effects of global climate change, extreme weather events associated with these phenomena, such as droughts and floods, have increased in frequency and severity.

This situation is also putting at risk the livelihoods of millions of small-scale family farmers in the Dry Corridor, many of whom are heavily dependent on subsistence agriculture.

The aim of the high-level meeting is to increase awareness of, and the response to, this protracted and recurrent crisis, and to mobilize the international community to support the efforts of governments, UN agencies and other partners.

This includes strengthening of early warning systems, disaster risk management, and improving preparedness and coordination for emergency responses at national and regional levels.

In addition to relief work, responding to the impacts of El Niño requires investing in improving poor rural communities’ ability to access land, credit and other resources while also ensuring they are provided with basic services like water, sanitation, health, education, transport infrastructure and electricity.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze, and World Food Programme Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, will deliver the opening remarks (at 9:30).

The meeting also includes a roundtable session with ministers from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico.

Media are welcome to attend the high-level meeting, which will also be webcast.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Peter Mayer, FAO
FAO media relations
Tel: (+39) 06 570 53304
peter.mayer@fao.org

Joanne Levitan, IFAD
Tel: (+39) 06 54592509
Mobile : (+39) 366 5620977
j.levitan@ifad.org

Frances Kennedy, WFP
Mobile: (+39) 346 7600806
frances.kennedy@wfp.org