The Africa Climate Conference 2013 provides a unique opportunity to define a common climate research agenda for the continent, to close the gap between African decision makers and climate scientists, and to help deliver relevant climate services for end-users.
In a keynote address to the three-day conference, which opened today in Arusha, Tanzania, World Meteorological Organization Deputy Secretary-General Jerry Lengoasa said Africa is a crucial partner in initiatives to advance and make practical use of international climate research. African climate variability is of fundamental importance to many global climate phenomena currently targeted by the international research community.
“The African continent is the most vulnerable to current climate variability and extremes and is the one most likely to suffer adverse effects of climate change,“ said Mr Lengoasa. “For example, rainfall patterns are projected to have further negative impact on agriculture and food security, water availability and distribution. The frequency, magnitude and duration of extreme weather and climate events, such as severe storms, droughts and floods is likely to increase, bringing further stress to many communities,,“ he said.
“There is thus a strong context of global infrastructure development, research and other initiatives with direct relevance to the African continent. This Conference will provide a forum to assemble and review these activities, and a means of channeling their relevance for Africa in a coordinated focus on African climate research and user-driven climate services,“ said Mr Lengoasa.
Effective climate services — climate information products to assist decision-making — will be essential to help Africa design effective strategies to manage risks and adapt to climate variability and change.
WMO is spearheading the implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services, a U.N. initiative to improve the provision of climate services like seasonal forecasts and to ensure that these meet the needs of users in priority sectors like agriculture and food security, water management, disaster risk reduction and health.
Mr Lengoasa said the Africa Climate Conference would promote a core principle of the GFCS: the need to link the climate research community with the end user.
“By promoting dialogue, the ACC 2013 conference will help to align the needs of African decision-makers with the priorities of climate researchers. This will also foster the development of a stronger African research network that will serve African citizens.