The World Meteorological Organization has partnered with leading research, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to launch the Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa in an effort to increase the climate change resilience of some of the world’s most vulnerable countries.
The programme, funded by a grant of $9 750 000 (NOK60 000 000) from the Government of Norway, is the first multi-agency initiative to be implemented under the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). It represents a unique approach that includes natural and social scientists as well as large development and humanitarian agencies working on the ground in a bid to ensure that climate services are tailored to the practical needs of the user community.
The challenges are huge. An estimated 70 nations, including many of the Least Developed Countries, have inadequate or no climate services and are ill-equipped to meet the challenges of both natural variations in the climate and human-induced climate change.
WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud and State Secretary Hans Brattskar of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed the agreement today during the annual climate change conference taking place in Warsaw.
“The Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa is a model of how a wide range of partners can unite to ensure that the benefits of scientific advances reach those who are most at risk from weather and climate-linked hazards,” said Michel Jarraud, World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General.
“The funding from Norway will allow us to roll out climate services to help African countries adapt to our changing climate and to increase resilience to droughts and floods and other extremes.”
“Africa is the continent most vulnerable to a wide range of impacts of climate change. Africa is already facing a decrease in food production, floods and inundation of coastal zones and deltas, as well as the spread of waterborne diseases and malaria. Often it is the most vulnerable people that suffer the most, and there is an urgent need for effective and coordinated action. Norway firmly believes that with this multi-agency climate services program, we can deliver climate services to those vulnerable people and also contribute to strengthening the global framework as the knowledge and action hub of climate services,” said Børge Brende, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The provision of more and better climate services will allow farmers to fine-tune their planting and marketing strategies based on seasonal climate forecasts; empower disaster risk managers to prepare more effectively for droughts and heavy precipitation; assist public health services to target vaccine and other prevention campaigns to limit climate-related disease outbreaks such as malaria and meningitis; and help improve the management of water resources. These activities all contribute to appropriate adaptation planning to a changing climate.
The main countries to benefit initially will be Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania. The programme will build on existing climate services in food security, nutrition and health, and disaster risk reduction at national, local and regional level. It is intended that the Climate Services Adaptation Programme will become operational in other African countries in the future and will serve as a model for other parts of the world.
“The Norwegian support for the GFCS project in Malawi will enable consideration of how to better meet user needs in Malawi, and provide opportunity to make progress,” said Mr. Jolamu L Nkhokwe, Director of Climate Change and Meteorological Services in Malawi.
“While a great emphasis in Malawi has been placed on the ability to forecast large-scale rainfall patterns, it is a known factor that users often request tailored packages that integrate a variety of information, including more detailed features of the expected rainfall, other climate variables, and information about the consequences of the expected climate. Within this project, a number of simple methods of statistical downscaling of the large scale climate product will be turned into the type of rainfall information requested by many users in Malawi.”
Dr Agnes Kijazi, Director General of the Tanzania Meteorological Agency, said “The Programme will be a significant opportunity for enhancing availability of wide range of data and assuring better access to all available data and information. Furthermore, the programme will empower the meteorological agency to better serve our key customers, in particular the agriculture sector and the authorities responsible for disaster management in the country. This in turn will contribute to improved food security and disaster management for the country.”
The Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa is implemented by seven partner organizations: WMO; the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS); the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO); the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI); the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); the World Food Programme (WFP); and the World Health Organization (WHO).
There is growing momentum towards the provision of climate services in both developed and developing countries alike within the context of the Global Framework for Climate Services. This is a country-driven initiative to provide accurate and accessible climate services to users such as disaster management authorities, water and energy utilities, public health agencies, the transport sector, and farmers, as well as the community at large.
This new programme is building on achievements made under another Norwegian supported programme. The GFCS Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Africa programme started in 2011 with the aim of contributing to the amelioration of weather and climate related disasters and to climate change adaptation in Africa through operationalizing the Global Framework for Climate Services. Tangible impacts obtained so far with Norwegian support include the holding of roving seminars for farmers in 17 different African countries, during which the farmers have received information about weather and climate, future climate change and the implications in their region, climatic risk in production of different crops in their region and better risk management.
The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water.