Asia-Pacific countries assess the impact of El Niño at UN consultation

The 2015-2016 El Niño event is one of the strongest since 1997-98. The impacts from the El Niño in Asia-Pacific continue to threaten the most vulnerable populations in the region and may have long lasting implications. To better understand risks and assess impacts from El Niño, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have brought together 60 participants from 14 El Niño affected countries for a ‘Regional Consultative Workshop on El Niño in Asia-Pacific’ from 7 to 9 June 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The hands-on training will introduce a standardized methodology to interpret, translate and communicate El Niño associated risks. It will present an end-to-end risk assessment process- beginning from understanding the risk, its linkages with hydro-meteorological disasters, their impacts on ecosystems, economies and livelihoods, and finally communicating these risks to policymakers and communities at risk.

El Niño is a complex, transboundary phenomenon that is frequently neglected due to its slow onset nature. Actions often come too late for affected communities to prepare for the impending disaster. Understanding risks and the timely response to these risks is the first line of defense against the impacts of El Niño.

The meeting will also discuss the establishment of a regional network to share scientific knowledge to understand El Niño risk, develop mitigation strategies, and communicate the risks in a manner that will enable stakeholders to take timely action on risk information.