Botswana, 17th March, 2016. SADC Secretariat met with the Regional Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Mr. Chris Nikoi, the Sub-Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa Food and Representatives of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to discuss the preparedness and response to the emerging negative effects of the 2015/16 drought in SADC.
The drought, which is the worst in more than 35 years, has affected nearly all Member States, leaving more than 28 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. This emergency situation led the SADC Council of Ministers, at their meeting held in Gaborone, Botswana, on 14 – 15 March 2016, to approve a number of actions for the provision of immediate support to affected populations and adapt and mitigate against similar challenges in the future.
In her remarks, the Executive Secretary of SADC, expressed SADC’s gratitude to UN Agencies for their expeditious partnership in responding to challenges posed by the drought, and called for a multi-sectoral and coordinated approach. She indicated that, while SADC takes the lead, UN Agencies are requested to support SADC through provision of the needed technical expertise and experience, while using their extended network to mobilise the needed resources in the implementation of necessary actions to respond to the situation.