27 Aug 2014 16:10pm
WINDHOEK, 27 AUG (NAMPA) Scientists and politicians in Southern Africa must redouble efforts to improve their respective national meteorological service through greater co-operation and sound policies, the Minister of Works and Transport said here Wednesday.
Erkki Nghimtina made this call at the official opening of a three-day meeting of the eighteenth Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-18).
About 60 climate prediction experts from the National Meteorological or Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) are meeting in Windhoek to develop a consensus climate outlook for the October 2014 to March 2015 rainfall season for the region.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that climate and weather play a cardinal role in all our developmental aspirations, there are still several big data gaps, particularly in Africa, due to insufficient observation networks and poor meteorological telecommunication systems that negatively affects the quality of the weather products and forecasts, he noted.
He said such overdue improvement is in line with the decisions of the African Ministers Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), which was held in Zimbabwe, Harare in June 2014.
The SADC Protocol on Transport, Communications and Meteorology also underscores the importance of this co-operation and the need for appropriate policies and legislation, regulating national meteorological services, he added.
He pointed out weather and climate systems are dynamic in nature and do not recognise national or international boundaries.
Nghimtina then called upon the delegates to embrace co-operation in the field of meteorology for the achievement of common objectives to mitigate the catastrophic consequences of weather and climate-related hazards.
I wish to remind you that sharing and transfer of scientific expertise, technology and resources are vehicles for a lasting solution to address challenges posed by weather and climate. Weather related calamities, if not appropriately responded to, have the potential to negate or even reverse our achievements in socio-economic development, he said.
The theme for SARCOF-18 is Advancing Climate Information Services for Resilience Development in the Southern African Region.
The meeting is part of the SARCOF-18 which is a collaborative effort between the SADC Climate Services Centre, African Development Bank (AfDB), World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) and the National Meteorological or Hydrological Services (NMHS) in the region.
The meeting will also discuss the potential impacts of the consensus seasonal climate outlook on socio-economic sectors, including disaster risk management, food security, health, water resources and hydropower management.
The meeting ends Friday.