Establishment of a Regional Climate Centre in Central Africa
Following the decisions taken during the First and Second African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) have been collaborating with the World Meteorological Organization and the African Union Commission to establish a Regional Cimate Centre in Central Africa, under the auspice of AMCOMET. A draft strategy and implementation plan has been developed and is in the process of being approved by Central African Member States. The modalities of its establishment, including its hosting, is expected to be announced during the Third Session of AMCOMET, which will take place in February 2015 in Cabo Verde.
The overall goal is to contribute to the improvement of weather and climate related disasters and to climate change adaptation in Africa, through operationalizing the Global Framework for Climate Services. The projects also aim to establish the high-level strategies and mechanisms at regional level to develop Weather and Climate Services in West Africa and to build capacity for the prediction of severe weather and contribute to improving regional coordination of weather and climate services.
The Uganda Department of Meteorology, World Meteorological Organization, MTN, Ericsson, National Lake Rescue Institute and the Kalangala Fishing community have come together in a unique partnership, and combined mobile technology, weather forecasting and local know-how, to provide a localised weather alert service to fishing villages on Lake Victoria. The public-private partnership has enabled the delivery of daily weather forecasts and well-timed warnings in local languages. A survey of 200 fishermen using Mobile Weather Alert service reported the weather alert service being important with 96% of the respondents saying it has improved the safety of their lives. Over 1000 fishers registered for the SMS weather service. Improved early warnings in Lake Victoria Region resulting in marked decrease of weather related accidents. MTN, Grameen Foundation AppLab Uganda and Ericsson are in the preparation of the wider service offering together with the Uganda Department of Meteorology, which will then be available for the entire Lake Victoria community.
In light of increased climate variability, severe weather events and uncertainties, the World Meteorological Organisation and the Uganda Department of Meteorology in conjunction with Grameen Foundation launched a 1-year Weather alert and advisories project in Kasese district in South Western Uganda through which subsistence farmers would timely receive climate and weather information for better planning of their agricultural activities. At the end of the pilot, the number of farmers registered for the SMS weather alerts, advisories and forecasts increased from 7,000 to 15,400 resulting on average of 40-50% increase in agricultural yields.
Met-Agri organized 159 roving seminars to increase the interaction between National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and farmers whose livelihoods depend on weather. These seminars increased the self-reliance of rural farmers by raising their awareness about effective weather and climate risk management and the sustainable use of weather and climate information and services for agricultural production. In a region which is susceptible to both extremes of droughts and floods, NMHSs involved in the project also distributed 3095 rain gauges to 2838 villages, providing farmers with a simple but invaluable crop management and planning tool which is taken for granted in many parts of the world, but remains here a scarce luxury for poor communities. The effective use of agro-meteorological information has reduced re-sowing rates by up to 35% and increased crop yields by up to 25% compared to ""non-metagri"" farms.
The project aims to strengthen the capacities of NMHSs in Eastern and Southern Africa, and respective regional centres in forecasting and to improve national management skills and stakeholders’ engagement for the implementation of national Implementation Plans.