December 2009

African ministerial meeting on weather, climate and water in Nairobi

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For the first time ever, African Ministers responsible for meteorology will meet to address ways of strengthening weather, climate and water information for decision-making. This first ministerial Conference, organized by WMO in partnership with the African Union, will be held in Nairobi, hosted by the Government of Kenya, from 12 to 16 April 2010.

African National Meteorological and Hydrological Services have an important role to play in evaluating and monitoring climate change. Their early warnings are essential to help prevent natural disasters. The Conference will be addressing the role and contribution of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to efforts by African Governments for developing initiatives to mitigate, and adapt to, the negative impacts of weather and climate.

The African continent is especially vulnerable to climate change. Already, the number and magnitude of natural hazards are increasing in the face of a warming climate. All sectors in Africa are affected, from agriculture, water, health and food security, to forestry, transport, tourism and energy.

In Africa, famine is primarily the result of drought that leads to consistent food shortages. Millions of African people suffer hunger with relentless regularity. Famine and climate change increase drastically the population’s vulnerability to diseases, poverty and other hardships. Likewise, catastrophic floods can devastate agricultural lands: in 2000, Mozambique was hit by the worst floods experienced in 150 years, with the Limpopo River basin submerged in water for up to three months.

In the light of this event, Mozambique is now proactively using meteorological information to manage flood risks. Likewise, other countries, such as Mali and Malawi, are using meteorological information for agricultural management.

The African Union is a partner in the ministerial Conference. The African Union is playing a key role in the implementation of the Climate for Development Project in Africa (Climdev) and the African Monitoring Environment for Sustainable Development Project (AMESD).

 

 

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