Investment in the Global Framework for Climate Services would yield benefits in the order of ten to one, according to World Meteorological Organization Secretary General Michel Jarraud.
Mr Jarraud told a news conference during COP-17 in Durban that a few tens of millions of dollars were necessary to kick start the Framework, gradually increasing to hundreds of millions of dollars.
The initial investment is tiny compared to what is already being spent on existing observation and information programmes like satellites and super-computers.
“ The more we invest, the more benefits we get, “ he said, adding that the investment would reap a “ very significant return” in terms of stronger food security, better water management, improved health outcomes, and enhanced disaster risk reduction.
Mr Jarraud said it was important that a connection be made between the Framework and the planed Green Fund to support developing countries with regard to mitigation, adaptation and capacity-building, which is being discussed in Durban.
The Framework, which was adopted by the World Meteorological Congress in June, is currently being developed by WMO and a wide range of partners including the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
It will try to narrow the gap between the needs for climate services and their current provision – especially in climate-vulnerable developing countries. It will translate scientific advances into tools for action on the ground through downscaling global knowledge to fit national needs.
Reliable scientific information lies at the heart of adaptation to climate change, said Mr Jarraud. Adaptation is “absolutely essential “ given that the continuing increase in concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These increases are consistent with an increase in global temperatures of 2-2.5°C which will have far reaching and potentially irreversible impacts.
« The news is not good news, » said Mr Jarraud. WMO’s provisional statement on the Status of the Global Climate issued 29 November showed that the first ten months of 2011 were the tenth hottest on record despite the relative cooling influence of La Niña. It was the hottest year with a La Niña on record.
“There is no doubt our climate is changing will continue to change in the future. It can change faster or less fast depending on decisions taken in Durban,” said Mr Jarraud.
The Framework will help with climate change adapatation, especially in the most vulnerable sectors.
Strengthen the vulnerable
It envisages strengthening the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of 70 countries that currently do not provide basic weather and climate service to empower them to deliver tailor-made services to reduce risks from droughts, floods and other extremes.
Mr Jarraud said a few countries have absolutely no climate services at all – including those vulnerable to natural hazards like Haiti and Somalia.
Developing the Framework will be a gradual process. But the good news is that the foundations for the global provision of climate services do exist and can be readily developed and built upon. These include local, national, regional and global networks of climate observation, monitoring, research and modelling.
Mr Jarraud cited the example of seasonal forecasts which are currently made in several regions, including the Greater Horn of Africa and southern Africa and which provide outlooks for precipitation and temperatures. He said the aim is to cover the whole globe so that every region has a mechanism to produce reliable seasonal forecasts which can be used to take advantage of weather and climate opportunities and minimize the risks.
A GFCS draft implementation plan is being developed. Almost 100 experts nominated by 36 countries and various UN System Agencies currently integrate the team which is drafting the GFCS implementation plan and governance mechanism
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