Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Closing Statement
ECOSOC Special Meeting
Impacts of the 2015/16 El Niño phenomenon: Reducing risks and capturing opportunities

Ambassador Oh Joon, President of ECOSOC,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have come to the conclusion of this important meeting. I would like to thank all the participants for sharing their invaluable experience and expertise in addressing the economic, social and environmental impact of the current El Niño phenomenon.

Today we heard about the tireless efforts and resilience of the countries impacted by the El Niño phenomenon and the weather extremes that bring so much suffering to communities. It is a phenomenon with a global impact going beyond South America, to parts of Africa and Asia.

We must address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of this phenomenon if we want to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development without leaving anyone behind.

Our discussions today demonstrated the impact of extreme weather conditions on people and their livelihoods. It also showed that the impact is greater for lower-income countries and vulnerable countries. The El Niño phenomenon places additional burden on their national and local capacity to manage risk and disasters.

We must reduce the impact of extreme weather conditions on key development sectors in order to help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Designing and implementing disaster risk reduction and management policies and strategies is also crucial to achieving SDG targets related to increasing resilience.

It is time we translate our commitments into action to make countries resilient to future El Niños as well as other extreme weather conditions. The best way to reduce their impact is by coming together and mobilizing effective global action.

For example, we can promote effective early warning mechanisms, in line with the Global Framework for Climate services. We also need to build capacity and invest in disaster risk reduction to reduce risk and increase resilience locally and nationally in countries affected by the El Niño phenomenon.  Development cooperation can assist in this regard.  I also encourage the affected countries to share and exchange information among themselves.  ECOSOC could be a platform for this kind of exchange.

DESA is committed to supporting Member States in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement in a coherent and integrated approach.

Thank you.

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