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Press Release No. 879

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Geneva, 16 March 2010 (WMO) – African Ministers responsible for meteorology will meet in Nairobi, Kenya, to address ways of strengthening weather, climate and water information for decision-making. Recognizing the needs to strengthen the role and contribution of African National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) to Government policies and initiatives for mitigating and adapting to climate change, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in partnership with the African Union, is organizing the First Conference of Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa, from 12 to 16 April 2010, with the support of the Government of Kenya, in Nairobi.

The African continent is particularly vulnerable to climate change. The historical climate record for Africa shows warming of approximately 0.7°C over most of the continent during the 20th century, with a decrease in rainfall over large portions of the Sahel, and an increase in rainfall in east central Africa. The frequency and magnitude of natural hazards, including droughts and floods, are increasing and affecting millions of African people. All economic sectors are affected – from agriculture to food security, transport, public health, water resources management, energy and tourism. However, the African continent has not yet taken full advantage of the opportunities meteorology holds. In most regions, weather, climate and hydrological information is not available in a practical and ready-to-use format for others users.

NMHS are the major players in the provision of critical information to decision-makers. They provide vital information for transportation, agricultural production, water resources management, forest protection, and combating soil degradation. They have an important role to play in evaluating and monitoring climate change, and their early warnings on natural hazards are key to help prevent natural disasters.

  “Now more than ever, African Meteorological Services must be seen as major actors of development”, said Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary-General. “The Conference will therefore address the role of our Members in Africa, and their contribution in supporting African leaders to adapt to and mitigate the negative impacts of, weather and climate. This is vital for the security and welfare of the African people.”

The Ministerial Conference on 15 and 16 April will be preceded by a preparatory Expert Segment from 12 to 14 April where invited experts will discuss in eight sessions the challenges faced by NMHS in Africa. The Conference of Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa is a follow-up to the decision of the third World Climate Conference (WCC-3) to create the Global Framework for Climate Services.

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For more information, please contact:

Ms Carine Richard-Van Maele, Chief, Communications and Public Affairs, WMO, Tel: +41 (0) 22 730 8315, Mobile: +41 794 064730; E-mail:

Ms Marie Heuzé, Special Advisor, Tel: +41 (0)22 730 84 78, E-mail:

Ms Gaëlle Sévenier, Press Officer, Communications and Public Affairs, Tel. +41 (0) 22 730 8417, Fax: +41 (0) 22 730 8027, E-mail:



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