FROM NEWTON SIBANDA in Nairobi
The first meeting of ministers responsible for meteorology in Africa to address the challenges of climate begins in Nairobi tomorrow (Thursday).
More than 30 ministers are expected to attend the meeting organized by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in collaboration with the African Union (AU).
The first conference of ministers responsible for meteorology in Africa aims at recognizing and strengthening the role of national meteorological and hydrological services.
Underlining the timeliness of the WMO high-level meeting for Africa, Permanent Observer of the AU, Khadija Rachida Masri said the meteorological capacities in African countries needed upscaling.
“The AU felt the need in Africa to have ministerial conferences on very specific fields such as meteorology,” she said.
“Therefore our goal, with WMO, is to reinforce meteorological capacities in African countries in order to prevent the negative impacts of climate change.”
WMO Secretary General Michel Jarraud said “Now more than ever, African national meteorological services are to be seen as major actors of development.
I am confident that African ministers responsible for meteorology will explore this week the best possible ways to strengthen weather, climate and water information for decision-making to help achieve the UN millennium development goals by 2015.”
The conference, which is addressing the role of WMO’s 52 members in Africa, is expected to adopt tomorrow a declaration for the development of weather, water and climate services in Africa.
The ministerial conference which ends tomorrow, has been preceded by three days of expert meetings.
Zambia Meteorological Department (ZMD) Chief Meteorologist Joseph Kanyanga said the conference would help to enhance and promote understanding and appreciation of meteorological services and their role in development at decision making level.
“The aim is to improve recognition of meteorological services at decision making level. This will help to improve investment in equipment and human resource,” said Dr Kanyanga, who is part of the Zambian delegation.
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