African experts urge access to accurate climate information

Thursday 21st February, 2019
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ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua/GNA) - Collaboration among key stakeholders in the climate information services value chain is crucial for Africa to achieve its development agenda, African experts said on Wednesday.

African experts, who have gathered under the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) umbrella, have stressed that Africa needs evidence-based research with an aim to inform its budgeting and development programs.

"Accurate climate information and climate information services will make Africa resilient to climate change by ensuring that decision makers and planners in agriculture, water, energy, infrastructure, and health are well informed and make decisions that yield benefits for our people," an ECA statement quoted James Murombedzi, Chief of African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), as saying.

Despite climate information services being very important to many countries, Murombedzi underscored the "insufficient systematic processes in Africa used for packaging, translating and disseminating information that is responsive to the needs of stakeholders."

Joseph Mukabana, Director for Africa and LDCs at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), also called for impact-based forecasts that are area and consumer-specific so as to reach majority of the users across the continent.

"For example, farmers want to know the onset of rains, its intensity and when it will stop.

“They want to know the seeds they will use and they want to receive the information in a simple language style they understand, not the scientific jargon," Mukabana said.

The WMO director also called for concerted efforts to target governments and donors because they are key in implementing policies.

"Let us plan to reach government officials through such bodies like African ministerial conference on meteorology and development partners' roundtable," Mukabana stressed.

According to figures from the African Union, an estimated 3 trillion U.S. dollars are needed for Africa to implement the climate change adaptation and mitigation targets that are expected to be realized by the year 2030.

Despite the huge need, sub-Saharan Africa received an average of 12 billion U.S. dollars per year in 2015/16, the AU had said in a statement last month.

"There is urgency to shift the billions to trillions. The inability of African countries to deliver their national targets will endanger the global ability to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement," the 55-member continental union stressed last month.

Coordinator of Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa at the Africa Climate and Policy Centre, Frank Rutabaga, also called for proper coordination to avoid duplication of projects.

"We will strive to identify projects across the continent so that we are able to advise donors and governments on how they can be implemented, where, and at what cost," Rutabingwa said.