ECOWAS commits to Hydromet services
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has declared its commitment to support the development of sustainable and reliable weather, water and climate services and their delivery to end users in West Africa.
The ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with the Government of The Gambia, held the 2nd ECOWAS Hydromet Forum and Disaster Risk Reduction Platform Meeting from 20-22 April 2021. The Forum was held in collaboration with the World Bank and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and with the financial support of the ACP-EU Building Disaster Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa Program funded by the European Union.
The session brought together over 500 registered partners from national services, bi-lateral and international partners, river basin organizations, civil society, private sector, research and academia. It adopted the ECOWAS Hydromet Initiative, the ECOWAS Flood Risk Management Strategy, and the ECOWAS Disaster Risk Reduction Gender Strategy and Action Plan.
At the ministerial segment, WMO Secretary-General Prof Petteri Taalas stressed the relevance of hydrometeorological services in the region and the need for improved observations to strengthen early warnings.
West Africa is vulnerable to hazards including drought and floods and these are being exacerbated by climate variability and change which is affecting precipitation patterns and undermining food security and socio-economic development. The region is also at the epicentre of sand and dust storms, which have major impacts on the environment, transport and human health.
WMO is involved in a number of initiatives to strengthen climate services, early warnings and support capacity development in the ECOWAS region.
The ECOWAS Hydromet Initiative adopted at the Forum is an investment plan building upon an assessment carried out in line with both the WMO Capacity Development Panel’s Categorization of NMHSs and the Checklist for Climate Services Implementation.
The Forum stressed that “modernizing every aspect of the entire value chain of hydromet systems and services will bring innovation to the ECOWAS region to better respond to the needs of end users,” and acknowledged “the importance of effective early warning for managing disasters (including droughts, floods and epidemics).”
It noted that “targeted capacity building for national meteorological and hydrological services through an end user-oriented approach focused on service delivery and the last-mile connectivity is central to the provision of weather, water and climate services for climate resilience and sustainable development.”
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