NEWS: African countries agree to strengthen their meteorological services to reduce the impact of extreme weather events
African nations have declared to invest in meteorology to ‘save lives’ following the third meeting of the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), held last week in Praia, Cape Verde.
“The recent devastating flooding in many parts of Africa, particularly Southern Africa, has highlighted once again how weather-related hazards undermine and disrupt social, political and economic development,” said Hon Saviour Kasukuwere, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate of Zimbabwe and the outgoing Chair of AMCOMET.
“There is no doubt that the vagaries of weather and climate will play a critical role in shaping Africa’s development agenda. This requires a collective approach, unity of purpose based upon the shared vision on climate proofing of our beloved continent, genuine partnerships and commitment,” he said.
Established in April 2010 during the First Conference of Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa, AMCOMET is a joint initiative of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the African Union Commission. The organisation serves as a high-level mechanism for the development of meteorology and its applications in Africa and is a body endorsed by African Heads of State and Government. It is the inter-governmental authority on meteorology, which advises African Heads of State on all policy matters related to the provision, access and use of weather and climate services. In this, the third high-level gathering of the organisation, delegates sought to review and endorse the implementation of an integrated African strategy on weather and climate services.
AMCOMET membership includes all African Ministers responsible for meteorology. Ministerial decisions taken during AMCOMET sessions are submitted to the African Union Executive Council and the African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government for endorsement. At the end of the five-day African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), delegates recognised that “investments in weather and climate services help save lives and property, minimise economic losses and preserve the environment”.
“This year and the coming years are critical years for the planet in general, and specifically for Africa,” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the WMO.
“Africa is extremely vulnerable to the increasing impacts of climate change, which will worsen food insecurity and water stress for the continent’s growing population,” he said at the closing news conference.
He added that national meteorological and hydrological services in Africa are vital to public safety and well being as they enable sustainable development and are indispensable partners of economic sectors.
“National Meteorological and Hydrological Services are critical actors in supporting sustainable development. There is today increased awareness of the socioeconomic benefits delivered by weather and climate services,” he said.
The conference was made up of two segments: The Expert Segment (10 to 12 February 2015), attended by technical experts, including the Heads / Directors of the National Meteorological Service and the Ministerial Segment (13 to 14 February 2015), attended by Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa. Jean-Pierre Roux attended on behalf of Future Climate For Africa, which will support research to better understand climate variability and change across sub-Saharan Africa.
Olushola Olayide, who was representing Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, the African Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, said adaptation to climate change was “a priority for Africa. It is Africa that most needs to adapt.”
Progress made at the meeting and others planned on the mainland will allow Africa “to speak with one voice in the upcoming negotiations in 2015” on climate, particularly in Paris at the end of the year, she said.
The participants also adopted a budget of around one million euros for the future work of the organisation.
“Every African country should be involved in the collective effort towards the transformative socio-economic development of the continent to build The Africa We Want envisaged in the African Union Agenda 2063,” said H.E Tumusiime.
For more information of Future Climate For Africa see wwww.futureclimateafrica.org