International Workshop on Addressing the Livelihood Crisis of Farmers: Weather and Climate Services
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), FAO, IFAP, Meteo-France, NCAM, and USDA together with a number of other co-sponsors are organizing this workshop and the background, specific objectives and expected outcomes are listed below. This workshop will be held in conjunction with the 15th Session of the WMO Commission for Agricultural Meteorology from 15-21 July 2010.
There are 450 million smallholder farms in the world and several issues in the recent years are threatening their very livelihoods. The frequency and intensity of natural disasters including floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, wild fires etc., have been rising in the recent years. In 2008, Cyclone Nargis and Typhoon Fengshen caused significant damage to lives and property and 2008 was the tenth warmest year since the beginning of routine temperature recording and the eighth warmest in the northern hemisphere.
In order to address the livelihood crisis of farmers, there is an urgent need to increase productivity on their farms. This can only be accomplished through most efficient use of the three natural resources, soil, crop and climate, important for agricultural productivity. The agriculture and water resources sectors are probably the primary users of weather, climate and water information. In many countries, the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), in partnership with academic and private sector service providers, provide a wide range of information and advisory services, including the following: historical climate data and products; current information (weather, climate, air quality, streamflow, etc.); weather, climate, air quality, and river forecasts; warning services (for all forms of meteorological, hydrological and oceanographic hazards); projections and scenarios of future human-induced climate change; and scientific advice and investigations. In order to meet the food, fodder, fibre and renewable agri-energy needs of rapidly growing populations, especially in developing countries, information generated by the NMHSs is a vital element for ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources.
Projections of climate change and climate variability have generated a growing sense of urgency for continued but closer collaboration between the farming community and NMHSs. This collaborative process must move forward more aggressively, with effective risk management, to maximize the benefits of weather, climate and water information in the agricultural sector. There is a need for routine engagement by NMHSs of end-users and stakeholders in the development of products and services; improved communication and coordination in the development, use, assessment and improvement of these products; the development of a policy promoting free, unrestricted and timely exchange of data and information to foster stronger linkages with the farming sector; and the development of partnerships between climate and water scientists to improve water management and water use efficiency in order to deal more effectively with weather- and climate-related events such as droughts and floods.
Senior experts in several fields will be invited to prepare state-of-the-art discussion papers to address the above objectives, and these papers will be collected in a book to be published soon after the Workshop. The programme will be designed in such a way as to engage all the participants in discussions on each of these papers and to develop appropriate strategies to address the livelihood crisis of farmers through improved weather and climate services. The book on improving weather and climate services is expected to serve as a major source of information to all agencies and organizations involved with designing and implementing appropriate strategies and related services to farmers.
Recommendations from the Workshop will be considered at the ensuing session of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology of WMO for the provision of improved and weather and climate services to the farming community by the NMHSs.
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