Naivasha (Kenya), 20-10-2015: The Director of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Climate Prediction and Application Center (IGAD CPAC), Dr. Guleid Artan, this morning opened the Regional Consultative Meeting of Member States on the impending El Niño impacts and preparation for early actions in the presence of the Guest of Honor from the Kenyan Government, representatives from development partners – USAID, the World Bank, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), and the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO).

This one-day Experts meeting is meant to lay the ground for the Ministerial level meeting to be held the following day in Naivasha, where a final communiqué on the Preparation for Early Action on the Impending El-Nino Impact on Member States is expected to be released.

Participants to this experts meeting are national level senior technical representatives from Ministries and institutions in charge of Disaster Risk Management and senior representatives from authorities in charge of meteorological services.

The main objectives of holding the regional consultative meeting are to provide forecast updates based on the expected strengthening of El Niño, its likely impacts and mitigation recommendations with relevant decision makers from the Member States, and to share the status of preparedness by the Member States. The organizers will also use the opportunity to facilitate national and regional climate experts to create awareness of key actors in the various sectors regarding the use of climate outlook products.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Artan speaking on behalf of the Executive Secretary of IGAD, highlighted the risks posed by the El Niño climatic effects on the Greater Horn of Africa region: “For our region during El Niño years, the Equatorial zone experiences rains that cause floods for low laying areas, while the northern sector experiences below average rains”.

Before declaring the Regional consultative meeting open, he reminded the audience that the main goal of the meeting was to “discuss about the mitigation plans with the agencies responsible for Drought Disaster Reduction in member states and to share the status of preparedness by member states”.

Member states are IGAD member countries (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda), plus Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania.###