The 2015-2016 El Niño phenomenon has been one of the strongest on record, affecting deeply the lives and livelihoods of more than 60 million people across 40 countries. It has devastated crops and killed livestock, in some cases dried up water-sources in others caused massive flooding, driven up malnutrition rates, increased disease outbreaks and caused significant migration.
The 2016 humanitarian appeal (US$5 billion), whilst crucial to the life and wellbeing of millions, did not tackle the underlying vulnerabilities and risks. El Niño is not only a humanitarian challenge, but also a long-term development challenge. Factors such as poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, competition over scarce natural resources, high population growth, rapid and uncontrolled urbanization, and weak risk governance contribute to make countries and their people increasingly vulnerable to climate change and the increased frequency and intensity of weather-related hazards. The poorest, who directly depend on natural resources for food, clean water, energy, shelter, and income and do not have access to social safety nets become the most affected by this phenomenon.
El Nino is a critical issue for UNDP, going to the heart of its resilience focus and development mandate. This publication provides an overview of UNDP efforts at the global, regional and country level as well as its contribution to inter-agency advocacy to help communities affected by this climate related phenomenon.