Weather Forecasting Experts Converge For A Write-shop

Windhoek, Namibia, 24 November, 2018 – More than 20 weather experts from across Africa met in Windhoek, Namibia from the 22-23 November to identify best practices in the African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (RCOFs) processes. The write-shop event was convened under the auspices of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) and the Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) programme.

RCOFs are organized by Regional Climate Centres (RCCs) in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), Global Climate Centres (GCC) and development partners. The aim of RCOFs is to provide consensus regional seasonal climate outlooks for applications in climate sensitive socioeconomic sectors for decision support for resilience building and sustainable development (ICPAC, 2016).

The meeting was a culmination of several RCOFs knowledge exchange partnership workshops convened by ACPC earlier in the year, which led to a rich collection of material consisting of procedures, lessons and practices that RCCs utilise in producing consensus seasonal forecasts, organizing RCOFs, engaging stakeholders and seeking their feedback. The institutions in the partnership are the African Regional Climate Centres (RCCs), Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

Mr. Simon Dirske from Namibia Meteorological Service opened the write-shop and underscored the need to strengthen the stakeholder engagement aspect in the RCOFs, especially the farmers. Mr. James Murombedzi, Officer in Charge of ACPC emphasized the need to include a collection of RCOFs case studies in the continent, to serve as a historical perspective and from which best practices can be derived. Ernest Afiesimama, Programme Manager, Offices for Africa and Least Developed Countries at WMO also noted that “The RCC experts gathered here have brought key lessons and experiences which should all be collected and best practices identified from them”.

While the knowledge shared is already benefiting the RCC focal persons who have participated, the write-shop was convened to produce a consolidated document to serve as a reference by all RCCs.

Procedures and practices applied by the RCOFs to both produce consensus seasonal forecasts and publicise them vary. While most of the RCOFs face similar challenges, especially related to engaging stakeholders, dissemination and uptake of the seasonal forecasts they produce, some RCOFs have been operational for many years and thus have lessons and experiences that can help other RCOFs avoid “reinventing the wheel”.

The key thematic areas deliberated on included training and capacity building, consensus seasonal forecasting, funding mechanism and sustainability, communication and dissemination, engaging stakeholders and partnerships.

“It is always gratifying to note the dedication and expertise from the distinguished experts who gathered here and contributed their experiences and lessons learnt on RCOFs for the socio-economic development of our people on the continent,” said Mr. Mark Majodina of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). “As WMO, we will continue to support the knowledge partnership to enable this forum to deliver on its objectives.”

“As a best practice, for sustainability, it is important that member state governments take full ownership of the RCOFs process in terms of funding because the current donor based support system is not sustainable,” said Phillip Omondi of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC).

Mr. Omondi also believes, as other experts do, that with changing meteorological dynamics, “continuity and consistency in training is needed to keep weather experts well-informed on latest trends and tools in the sector.”

It is generally agreed that there is a suspicious relation between scientists and media professionals. The weather experts therefore agreed on the need for enhanced relations between scientists and media. As a best practice, it was agreed, communication and dissemination should be enhanced through provision of training to media and boundary stakeholders, for the benefit of end users.

“I am particularly impressed with the way they arrive at the consensus, but I believe the way stakeholders are engaged is also key,” said Dr. Mouhamadou Bamba Sylla, Senior Scientist in climate modeling and climate change at the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL). “Having media persons, the journalists as part of the process to serve as drafters of the press releases from the technical statement is prudent, as we scientists are trained in scientific language which is most often not understood by stakeholders. It is something we must improve upon to ensure that the solutions we discover reach the intended end users.”

In line with the overall objective of the write-shop, experts agreed on an extended outline of the RCOFs best practices document, and created an early draft with content to be included in the publication, assigned roles and responsibilities, a drafting timeline and a publication dissemination plan.

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia
Tel: +251 11 551 5826
E-mail: ecainfo@uneca.org

Multi-Dimensional Approach for Evaluating Land Degradation

Author: Bernard Nuoleyeng Baatuuwie Year: 2017 Doctoral or master thesis: Doctoral thesis University: KWAME NKRUMAH UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Supervisor: Dr. Quang B. Le; Dr. Wilson A. Agyare; & Prof. Eric K. Forkuo Website: Excerpt text: AbstractThe White Volta Basin (WVB) is located within the Savanna Ecological Zone shared by Ghana, Burkina Faso and Continue Reading

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L’UL décerne son 1er diplôme «Docteur Honoris Causa» à l’Allemand Wilfried Kraus, directeur adjoint du Département “Développement Durable, Climat et Energie”, au ministère Fédéral allemand de l’Education et de la Recherche

Lomé, le 08 février 2018. Auditorium de l`UL. L’Université de Lomé décerne son 1er diplôme «Docteur Honoris Causa» à l’Allemand Wilfried Kraus, directeur adjoint du Département “Développement Durable, Climat et Energie”, au ministère Fédéral allemand de l’Education et de la Recherche. La cérémonie officielle de remise du diplôme s’est déroulée à l’auditorium de l’UL en présence de nombreuses personnalités parmi lesquelles l’ambassadeur de lé République Fédérale d’Allemagne au Togo, le président de l’UL et de plusieurs enseignants-chercheurs des universités publiques du Togo. Cette distinction est une marque de reconnaissance de l`UL à l’un des acteurs-clé de la coopération germano-togolaise à travers le programme WASCAL (West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use), section Afrique de l’Ouest.

Ghana to Benefit from New Regional Weather Stations

The stations would be an improvement of the sub-region’s 150 operational Synoptic Weather Stations since according to the World Meteorological Organisation, West Africa needs 2000 of the stations to help close meteorological data gaps in West Africa.WASCAL has signed a Memoranda of Understanding agreement with the Ghana Meteorological Services Department and this Ghana one of the first beneficiaries of the new weather stations.

Professor Jimmy Adegoke, the Executive Director of WASCAL, said this on Thursday at the opening session of its 11th board meeting in Accra.He said WASCAL was determined to establish a fully operational climate services programme by 2021 to provide relevant climate services for West African governments, regional economic bodies, basin authorities and other stakeholders for decision making.

Prof Adegoke said WASCAL received one million euro from the African Development Bank to build a world-class Climate Change Competence Centre in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.The Centre would serve as West Africa’s foremost Climate Research Center and regional hub for climate services, multi-purpose conferences, capacity building in climate change and other related activities.

Prof Adegoke said since WASCAL establishment in 2013, it has graduated 152 students whilst 106 students were currently in the WASCAL Graduate Studies Programmes located in the 10 member countries.He said plans were far advanced to commence a new Masters Programme in Informatics for Climate Change in Burkina Faso in 2018.

“The vision of WASCAL is to become one of Africa’s leading institutions in the provision of climate services to protect and improve livelihoods across West Africa through capacity building, research and climate services”, he said.Prof Kwabena Frempong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that global temperatures could rise another 1-2 °C by 2050 and 2-5 °C by 2100 depending on the additional quantity of greenhouse gases humans emit into the atmosphere over the coming decades.

He said the fight against climate change was mainly attributed to man-made activities, resulting in the adverse impact on livelihoods and commended WASCAL for its role to address the situation.Prof Frimpong-Boateng said the country would collaborate with WASCAL and ensure that any support needed are provided and urged member countries to deliberate on the sustainability of WASCAL.

Mr Christoph Retzlaff, the German Ambassador to Ghana, said the approach to climate change involves a concerted effort and that German research policy is oriented towards international cooperation.He said research on climate change and adaptive land use are key priorities for guaranteeing the livelihood of mankind, hence the need for more support to address the concern.

WASCAL was established in 2013 after an agreement was signed between Germany and ten West African countries to address the growing challenge of climate change.The countries are Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote de Ivoire, the Gambia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

Ghana to Benefit from New Regional Weather Stations

By Kodjo Adams, GNA
Accra, Oct. 19, GNA – The West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adopted Land Use (WASCAL) is developing 50 new Automatic Weather Stations and 20 Hydrological Measuring Stations across the sub-region.

The stations would be an improvement of the sub-region’s 150 operational Synoptic Weather Stations since according to the World Meteorological Organisation, West Africa needs 2000 of the stations to help close meteorological data gaps in West Africa.

WASCAL has signed a Memoranda of Understanding agreement with the Ghana Meteorological Services Department and this Ghana one of the first beneficiaries of the new weather stations.

Professor Jimmy Adegoke, the Executive Director of WASCAL, said this on Thursday at the opening session of its 11th board meeting in Accra.

He said WASCAL was determined to establish a fully operational climate services programme by 2021 to provide relevant climate services for West African governments, regional economic bodies, basin authorities and other stakeholders for decision making.

Prof Adegoke said WASCAL received one million euro from the African Development Bank to build a world-class Climate Change Competence Centre in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.

The Centre would serve as West Africa’s foremost Climate Research Center and regional hub for climate services, multi-purpose conferences, capacity building in climate change and other related activities.

Prof Adegoke said since WASCAL establishment in 2013, it has graduated 152 students whilst 106 students were currently in the WASCAL Graduate Studies Programmes located in the 10 member countries.

He said plans were far advanced to commence a new Masters Programme in Informatics for Climate Change in Burkina Faso in 2018.

“The vision of WASCAL is to become one of Africa’s leading institutions in the provision of climate services to protect and improve livelihoods across West Africa through capacity building, research and climate services”, he said.

Prof Kwabena Frempong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that global temperatures could rise another 1-2 °C by 2050 and 2-5 °C by 2100 depending on the additional quantity of greenhouse gases humans emit into the atmosphere over the coming decades.

He said the fight against climate change was mainly attributed to man-made activities, resulting in the adverse impact on livelihoods and commended WASCAL for its role to address the situation.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng said the country would collaborate with WASCAL and ensure that any support needed are provided and urged member countries to deliberate on the sustainability of WASCAL.

Mr Christoph Retzlaff, the German Ambassador to Ghana, said the approach to climate change involves a concerted effort and that German research policy is oriented towards international cooperation.

He said research on climate change and adaptive land use are key priorities for guaranteeing the livelihood of mankind, hence the need for more support to address the concern.

WASCAL was established in 2013 after an agreement was signed between Germany and ten West African countries to address the growing challenge of climate change.

The countries are Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote de Ivoire, the Gambia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

Men and women farmers in Benin are responding differently to climate change

As climate change brings with it increased extreme weather events, one of the pressing issues for Africa’s farmers will be how to address these challenges. One dimension to be factored in is that men and women farmers are responding to the pressures differently. The Conversation Africa’s Samantha Spooner asked Grace Villamor about her research on gender-specific responses by farmers in Benin.

How are extreme weather events affecting farmers in Benin?

Volatile climatic conditions and dwindling natural resources have been cited as the reason for persistent emigration from Benin to other West African countries.

The northern part of Benin, in particular, is highly vulnerable. Floods have become more intense and there have been more droughts as well as erratic rainfall patterns.

The impact of this has been evident. In 2013, the River Niger overflowed its banks and caused massive damage in the areas of Karimama and Malanville. The majority of the population in those areas are farmers and fishermen so families along the river lost crops, livestock and fishing grounds. Approximately 3,000 houses were destroyed, forcing more than 10,000 people to move and find shelter. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the value of crop losses was estimated at $20 million.

Another study conducted in Tanguieta, north-west Benin, found that winds have become increasingly violent and are responsible for the destruction of crops. Farmers also told the researchers that they had suffered delayed rainy seasons and less rain. As a result, the FAO estimated cereal production in northern Benin to have declined by about 5% in 2014 over the previous year’s harvest.

How important is agriculture to Benin and the Beninois?

Benin is predominantly a rural society. About 80% of the country’s 10.9 million people earn a living from agriculture and the sector contributes 40% to the country’s GDP. Most agricultural production is based on subsistence farming and 93% of that goes into food production.

Women play a crucial role in this sector. About 70% of women live in rural areas where they are responsible for 60%–80% of agricultural work. They are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change than men because of their locally defined roles as wives and mothers, while they have limited access to natural resources and little voice in decision making.

Is there a difference between how male and female farmers are coping with extreme changes in weather patterns?

I did a study on gender-specific responses to climate variability in northern Benin. A total of 260 respondents – of which 197 were male and 63 were female – were surveyed using a semi-structured questionnaire. There were also role-playing games related to climate change adaptation that were conducted with men-only and women-only groups.

The questionnaire covered respondents’ socio-economic characteristics (such as income or occupation) and land-use preferences. It also included questions on decisions about farm and household-level adaptation strategies.

One of my key findings was that men and women are equally aware of climate variability and share similar coping strategies. For example they adopt new, improved crop varieties when possible.

But they differ in their specific land-use strategies such as crop expansion or intensification. They also differ in relation to preferences of crop types and motivations – if they are motivated to reduce household expenses or by income security.

For example, women chose to plant maize and rice to satisfy food consumption whereas men chose cotton for which they receive government subsidies. Women planted things which can be eaten, men planted things that earned them an immediate income. We believe these differences emanate from their specific gender productive and reproductive roles, norms and identity.

In terms of livestock, women view livestock animals (such as goats or cattle) as a source of investment capital to expand their farms. For their part men sell livestock and use the proceeds to emigrate from the area to find work elsewhere, particularly during extreme weather events.

In the long run, these differences could lead to differentiated vulnerabilities and challenges. For example, in areas where men migrated to non-farm jobs, women would bear the entire responsibility of cultivating the family plot. This would include post-harvest storage, processing of food products for household consumption and marketing agricultural products.

What can be done to help farmers cope?

Due to the increasing role of women in agriculture in Benin, agricultural extension services – such as new crop varieties resistant to drought – should target women. These services should also include access to climate and weather related information, credit and farming technology. However, because the majority of female farmers in rural areas do not have any formal education, extension services and the decision making process are currently always shared by men.

Adjustments such as knowing the best time to train the women and a solid means of communication are needed on the part of government and non-government projects or services to reach more women.