Poverty reduction in SADC held back by climate factors - MASA

28 Aug 2014 09:20am
WINDHOEK, 28 AUG (NAMPA) – Poverty reduction initiatives and national development agendas of many countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) are being held back by the variability and extremes of climate change, an expert observed on Wednesday.
Chairperson of the Meteorological Association of southern Africa (MASA), Jolamu Nkhokwe made this remark at the start of the three-day meeting of the eighteenth Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-18) in the Namibian capital.
“The livelihoods of millions of people are critically dependent on a climate that is not only highly variable and unreliable in the short term, but is also expected to change in the longer term as a result of human activity,” he noted.
He said the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be possible only if SADC member countries are far better equipped to manage the impacts of both natural climate variability and human-induced climate change.
Since the inception of MASA in 2009, members have been meeting annually to discuss pertinent issues and examine the progress, challenges and constraints encountered in a areas pertaining to meteorology, including those issues that are to do with SARCOF process.
According to Nkhokwe, MASA members have therefore supported the SARCOF process entirely since it started in 1997 in Kadoma, Zimbabwe.
The climate experts meet annually to develop national and regional seasonal rainfall forecasts for member states and the SADC region.
The process provides for sufficient lead time between prognosis and actual occurrence of rainfall deficit or surpluses, used basically for planning of various operations such as in agriculture, disaster risk reduction, health and water.
“Let us all resolve to give the SARCOF process the needed support and acknowledgement in its role of safeguarding the environment to enhance the economic and social well-being of our society in the SADC region,” Nkhokwe told the gathering.
Speaking at the same occasion, SADC’s Climate Services Centre Coordinator Bradwell Garanganga also raised the concern that despite the progress achieved so far, the SADC region is still far from achieving optimum early warning capabilities for adverse weather conditions to enable adequate preparation to avert their negative effects on communities.
“There is, therefore, a need to work together at regional and global levels to address, among others, issues relating to early warnings. It is important for all the climate-sensitive sectors to continuously engage with the national meteorological or hydrological services in this regard,” he said.
The theme for SARCOF-18 is “Advancing Climate Information Services for Resilience Development in southern African Region.”
The meeting ends on Friday.