Addis Ababa September 12/2017 The need for comprehensive risk management system was stressed for reducing the impact of climate change which adversely affects the development pace in Africa.
Opening the four-day meeting of Africa Hydromet Forum that kicked off here at the African Union Head Quarters, AU Rural Economy and Agriculture Commissioner Josefa L. Sacko through her representative said norms, policies and strategies are critical to further enhance access to information about forecasting and backcasting weather and climate conditions.
Since 1970 over 2000 natural disasters, the majority of which resulted from drought related famine, killed more than 880,000 and affected 460 million people in Africa.
Floods are most frequent, accounting for 42 percent of economic damages by contrast, while droughts affect 78 percent of the population, she noted.
According to Commissioner Sacko, unless comprehensive risk management is put in place, these risks will draw and threaten peace and development in Africa.
Such a risk management framework for Africa can only be built on scientific and reliable weather, water and climate information.
This is possible only through end-to-end modernization for hydromet services as well as systems and services, she underlined.
For this reason, the AU formulated the Africa regional strategy for disaster risk reduction in 2011 and it aims to contribute toward attaining sustainable development and poverty reduction by integrating disaster risk reduction into development programs.
Water, Irrigation and Electricity Minister, Dr. Sileshi Bekele said the purpose of this forum is to bring together technical as well as ministerial participants to provide guidance on how existing weather water and climate information strategies and programs can be strengthened.
This would help to promote sustainable development, adaptation planning and climate resilient growth.
Ethiopia in its growth, trajectory aspires to achieve economic development targets in a resource efficient manner that overcomes the possible conflict between economic growth and climate change, he added.
This has been demonstrated through the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy the government issued in 2011.
“Within this Ethiopia sees strong hydromet services and climate information systems as a key to realize the positive roles of climate and water resources and reduce its negative impacts,” the minister said.
The Africa Hydromet Forum is expected to confer on opportunities and challenges of strengthening National Meteorology and hydrology service delivery and outline recommendations.
It is expected to build consensus on and momentum for modernizing weather, water, and climate information services and data.
African governments, academia, private sector leaders, and international organizations will exchange knowledge, build capacity, and plan strategically for long-term disaster risk management and climate resilient development and growth in Africa.