June 2008

Recent events

Workshop on Climate and Crop Disease Risk Management: an International Initiative in the Asia-Pacific Region / International Symposium on Agrometeorology and Food Security / Symposium on Climate Change and Biodiversity in the Americas / FAO Expert Meeting on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation / International scientific conference “Sixty years of participation by the Hydrometeorological Services of Belarus and Russia in the activities of WMO” / Expert Meeting on Agrometeorology in the Service of West African Agriculture

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Workshop on Climate and Crop Disease Risk Management: an International Initiative in the Asia-Pacific Region
Dhaka, Bangladesh 11- 14 February 2008

WMO co-sponsored this Workshop, which was organized by the Bangladesh Science Foundation. The Workshop reviewed project activities in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India and the USA. On the second day, the workshop participants were taken on a field trip to the experimental sites at Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh. On the way to the sites, a brief visit to the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute was arranged. On the third day, the workshop discussed climate, food security and population health issues. The need for including user needs through a bottom-up approach was discussed. The WMO representative made a presentation on climate change and future funding issues. The second half of the third day was devoted to discussing the way forward in the project including data compilation and analysis, future activities that need to be undertaken, linkages with ongoing national/international programmes, application of results in agro-advisories and regional cooperation. Discussions on the last day focussed on data analysis and model development/validation. The main crops addressed were mustard and peanuts.

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International Symposium on Agrometeorology and Food Security
Hyderabad, India, 18- 21 February 2008

WMO co-sponsored this Symposium, which was organized by the Association of Agrometeorologists of India and the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture. The Symposium was also co-sponsored by FAO, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India. In all, there were 10 technical sessions, in which 33 invited papers and 71 contributory papers were presented. These covered issues such as climate change and food security; agrometeorology and water resource management; extreme weather and disaster management; agrometeorology of land use and land degradation, livestock and fisheries; technologies and tools including weather modification for improving agriculture; crop-weather modelling, decision-support systems and yield prediction; agroclimate-agricultural planning; climate-pests and diseases; and operational agrometeorology and agromet advisories.

The WMO representative delivered the keynote address in the opening session of the Symposium and also made an invited presentation on climate change and food security in the first technical session. He also coordinated the technical session “The way forward”. The Symposium recommended the creation of an international consortium for weather and climate information for ensuring food security. A number of research and policy issues were identified as priority areas that the consortium should focus on.

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Symposium on Climate Change and Biodiversity in the Americas
Panama City, Panama, 25–29 February 2008

The Climate Change and Biodiversity Symposium was sponsored by Environment Canada, the Smithsonian Institution, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, the H. John Heinz III Center For Science, Economics and the Environment, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, WMO, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. One hundred and twenty-four participants from 28 countries attended.

The Symposium brought together top researchers, industry representatives and managers of climate change and forest biodiversity research and monitoring activities from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. It provided an opportunity for researchers and decision-makers from a wide range of disciplines to share results and information in a pan-American event. The symposium programme included invited keynote and plenary presentations, panel presentations, poster sessions, training sessions and study tours. The focus of the symposium was to address regional themes on climate change and biodiversity, as well as approaches, techniques and integrated studies. This symposium allowed participants to collaborate with other managers of climate and forest biodiversity monitoring networks, compare data from across the Americas, share local strategies, learn the latest advances in adaptation and gain an understanding of threats and impacts to biodiversity as a result of a changing climate.

The goals of the symposium were to:

  • Review the baseline data and systematic observation networks to assess biodiversity conservation, sustainability options and policy responses to global climate change;
  • Integrate knowledge of likely future changes on forest biodiversity, from a changing climate, reflecting both scientific and traditional knowledge;
  • Report on predictive models and decision-support tools to guide the design and selection of adaptation strategies from local to regional scales;
  • Establish a framework for future collaborative research on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development.

From the point of view of the biodiversity community, downscaled climate projections are need for the next 30-40 years. There was also a training session on downscaling climate change scenarios for impacts and adaptation studies, which used the Canadian Climate Change Scenarios Network (CCCSN) (www.cccsn.ca). This Website allows users to download Global Climate Model (GCM) output from the IS92a, SRES and IPCC AR4 as 20-year, 30-year or user-defined averages, or as time series from 2010 to 2100. Scenario data from the Canadian Regional Climate Model, other reanalysis products, statistical downscaling input, and other data are also available.

For further information, there is a Web page at: www.climatechangeandbiodiversity.ca/ with links to the presentation given at the Symposium. The presentations from the Symposium are scheduled to be on the Website but were not online at the time of writing.

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FAO Expert Meeting on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
Rome, Italy, 5–7 March 2008

This meeting was one of a series of meetings held at FAO Headquarters on subjects leading up to the FAO High Level Conference on High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy to be held in Rome from 3 to 5 June 2008. This was one of a series of eight expert meetings and the other meeting focused on such topics as climate change and biodiversity for food and agriculture; food and fuel security; bio-energy policy, markets, trade and food security; climate-related transboundary pests and diseases; climate change, water and food security; climate change and disaster risk management; land tenure implications; and civil society consultation.

The major outcome of this expert meeting was the writing of a technical background document entitled “Climate change and mitigation in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. There were 29 experts from several national, international and UN agencies, along with 35 FAO staff members.

The website of this Expert meeting can be found at: www.fao.org/foodclimate/expert/em1.html

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International scientific conference “Sixty years of participation by the Hydrometeorological Services of Belarus and Russia in the activities of WMO”
Minsk, Belarus, 15-17 April 2008

The Conference was organized by the National Hydrometeorological Services (NMSs) of Belarus and the Russian Federation, as well as the Committee of the Union State on Hydrometeorology and Monitoring of Environmental Pollution.  The Permanent Representatives of Belarus, Estonia, Lituania, the Russian Federation and Ukraine attended the session.

Maria Germenchuk, Director of the Meteorological Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Belarus and Permanent Representative of Belarus with WMO opened the conference. Alexander Bedritskiy, the President of WMO and co-chair of the conference, addressed the session. Alexander Apatsky, First deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Belarus; Vida Auguilene, Permanent Representative of Lithuania with WMO and Vyacheslav Lipinsky, Permanent Representative of Ukraine with WMO also addressed the session.

participants
From left to right: M. Gemenchuk. Permanent Representative of Belarus with WMO; A. Bedritskiy, President of WMO; A. Karpov, WMO Secretariat; and V. Auguilene, Permanent Repreentative of Ukraine with WMO

The topics of the conference covered international cooperation activities under the auspices of WMO in various areas of operational hydrometeorology, including production of observations, data collection, processing, storage and international exchange; weather forecasting and warnings, environmental monitoring, public weather services, major results of research and technical programmes implemented by NMHSs, including those related to the global and regional aspects of climate change.

The plenary session included 13 lectures on the above subjects presented by eminent scientists and experts from Belarus and the Russian Federation and 24 poster reports.  More than 100 participants representing research and operational entities of the Belarus and Russian Federation NMSs attended the conference.  The results achieved and experience gained within the frame of international cooperation as reported during the conference serve as a major accomplishment and highlight the strength of WMO’s meteorological community. The conference endorsed the recommendation to post all lectures and presentations on special Web pages and also to publish them as proceedings.     

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Expert Meeting on Agrometeorology in the Service of West African Agriculture
AGRHYMET, Niamey, Niger, 23 and 24 April 2008

WMO and the State Meteorological Agency of Spain (AEMET) organized this meeting which was attendedf by 20 experts from Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, the CILSS Regional Centre for Agricultural Meteorology and Hydrology (AGRHYMET) and the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development participated in the meeting.

The meeting recommended the organization of roving seminars in five countries—Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal—to assist farmers in providing them with climate information and applications for increasing productivity of their cropping systems. Fifty one-day seminars will be organized in collaboration with the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in 2008-2009. The overall goal of the roving seminars is to secure farmers’ self reliance through better informing them about effective weather and climate risk management and the sustainable use of natural resources for agricultural production. Typically they are of one-day duration and bring together farmers from a group of villages to a centralized location in different regions of the five Sahelian countries. The morning is devoted to providing information in the local language on different aspects of weather and climate in the region, future climate change and implications, climatic risk in production of different crops in their region and better risk management. The afternoon is devoted to obtaining feedback from the farmers on the weather and climate issues in their farming operations and the nature of the assistance they need.

Feedback obtained from the farmers will help the staff of Meteorological Services and Agricultural Extension Agencies to design improved products for use by farmers and to improve the channels of communication with the farmers.

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