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ECA urges Africa to enhance uptake and use of climate information services

African countries are required to fully integrate climate information services (CIS) into their policies, plans, programmes and practice, according to Fatima Denton, special initiatives division director at Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

Speaking at the opening session of a workshop to mark CIS day, which was held in Addis Ababa on 27 October 2017, under the theme ‘Enhancing Uptake and Use of CIS in Development Planning in Africa’, Denton noted that CIS has not been sufficiently applied for the reduction of poverty across the continent.

“Few countries in Africa fully integrate CIS into their policy and plans, yet countries continue to grapple with negative impacts of season variability and climate change albeit on varying degrees in development sectors and people’s livelihoods,” she said. She also explained about the need to start walking towards the solution.

Commenting about the effect of CIS, she added, “Climate information services prepare users for the weather they will actually experience. Climate services provide climate information in a way that assists decision making by individuals and organisations.”

She said that countries must be prepared to invest more in climate information generation and CIS services to enhance climate information generation capacity and effectively use available information in development planning as well as in practice across all sectors of development.

The objective of the CIS Day is to provide a continental platform for decision makers, scientists and researchers to share experiences on how to enhance the uptake and use of climate information services and related issues.

Joseph Mukabana, director at Offices for Africa and Least Developed Countries (AFLDC) and secretariat at African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), said that presently many African countries are showing growing interest in CIS activities across the continent.

This is because more than 60 per cent of socio-economic activities on the continent are weather and climate related. According to him, about 90 per cent of all natural disasters on the continent were hydro-meteorological.

“It is also estimated that weather and climate related disasters could cause devastation to property and infrastructure of a country and affect the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 10 to 20 per cent and could therefore reverse the gains made in economic growth and development.” he said.

“To adequately address these extremes, requires the involvement of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services as key stakeholders with a national mandate to observe, forecast and issue warnings for expected weather, climate and water threats,” added Mukabana.