01 Dec 2016
Excellent Hachileka, Programme Specialist in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Cluster, UNDP Africa
The recent El Nino and La Nina phenomena have affected millions of people across several countries, and key climate-reliant sectors such as agriculture, water resources, energy and infrastructure have been impacted.
Developing countries in Africa are among the most affected by climate change impacts, and yet remain among the least prepared to respond or cope when disaster strikes.
One of the reasons is the lack of effective climate services, the collective term for collection, analysis, distribution and application of reliable weather, water and climate information used for early warning and to manage a disaster once it has occurred.
Recognising this gap, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in partnership with National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) initiated national Climate Outlook Forums (COF) in the 1990s.
Given the cross-border nature of weather and climate, Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs) were also set up within the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to deliver regional seasonal climate forecasts to governments for development planning and disaster risk management.
The forums bring together climate scientists and experts, forecasters and climate information users such as farmers unions and local authorities, to formulate consensus-based climate outlook guidance and to discuss the implications of probable climate outcomes for climate-sensitive sectors. They …