EU-MACS Coordinator: Prof. Adriaan Perrels,

Comment: UNDP releases vision report for weather and climate services in Africa

Feb 01, 2017 16:17
Comment: UNDP releases vision report for weather and climate services in Africa

Image: Table Mountain as viewed from Bloubergstrand. Photo by Warrenski/Flickr (CC by 2.0).

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso of Acclimatise

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called on African leaders to investment in weather and climate services in order to increase climate resilience, save lives, and protect the environment.

In a newly released report, A New Vision for Weather and Climate Services in Africa, the UNDP says that climate services will play an important role in reducing poverty in the region. The emphasises that many challenges that Sub-Saharan Africa faces will be made more difficult by climate change, citing rapid population growth, poor access to basic services and low rates of agricultural productivity as examples.

The report’s authors found that climate and weather services can play a part in building resilience. For example, they can provide vulnerable farming communities with important information that can help farmers increase their productivity and manage their risks better. Reliable climate information can also be useful to access index-based insurance, which for many can be an important risk management tool.

The study also provides examples of end-to-end systems that can produce and deliver early warnings and climate information. It also identifies many of the main drivers for maintaining climate information and early warning systems: specifically showing how public-private partnerships and next generation monitoring technologies can help to increase resilience in the region.

Engagement with the private sector was found to be important in order to strengthen climate services. The report calls for more effective public-private partnerships, and that sustained financial and political support is provided to help maintain them. However, the report also cautions that these partnerships must be established carefully. To do this they must have: transparent and effective procurement processes, clear allocation of risks, and continual monitoring and evaluation.

It is hoped that sustained investment in climate services can help bring valuable public-information alerts to vulnerable communities across Africa and help build new revenue streams for national hydro-meteorological services.

Acclimatise CTO and Co-founder, Dr Richenda Connell, was one of the peer reviewers of the report.