The 50th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF 50) convened under the theme, ‘User Needs and Service Provision Strategies for Gender-Sensitive Climate Services’.
During the two-day forum, participants were expected to develop consensus regional seasonal climate outlook for the months of October to December 2018. They also formulated mitigation strategies to the implications of consensus regional climate outlook on the key socio-economic sectors in the region and understand the gender-specific impacts of climate, including user needs and service provision strategies for gender-sensitive climate services.
Countries in the Greater Horn of Africa are heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture. Rwanda is no different. This makes climate and weather predictions a concern for us all – from policy makers to farmers.
Organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) and partners, the Forum included workshops on agriculture and food security, water resources, energy, health, livestock, media and disaster risk management (DRM).
GHACOF 50 brought together climate scientists, researchers, users from key socioeconomic sectors, governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), development partners, decision makers and civil society stakeholders.
The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has become one of the most valued multi-sectoral participatory approaches to climate services, Dr. Assia Alexieva the World Meteorology Organization Representative said in her address to participants.
The forum is organized by IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) organises in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in the region. In addition, ICPAC will be celebrating 20 years of holding these regional climate outlook forums, as well as launch of an atlas on climatic risks and food s
Rwanda’s Minister for Environment Dr. Vicent Biruta in his opening remarks said by providing consensus on seasonal outlooks, climate sensitive socio-economic sectors can be better supported to build resilience for sustainable development”It is for this reason that Regional Climate Outlook Forums are so important. The Minister further noted that the regional climate outlook expected from the forum would be an important input for detailed forecasts at the national level.
“Rwanda recently faced devastating floods that resulted in the tragic loss of hundreds of lives. We are also experiencing more droughts, which put farmers under immense financial and emotional pressure. Undoubtedly the result of climate change, these and similar experiences in all corners of the globe call for a paradigm shift in how we research and respond to changes in microclimates prone to dry spells and other climatic disasters” Minister Biruta said.
Sharing Rwanda’s experience, the Minister talked of a recently established interactive web portal for weather forecasts that has been helpful for the public whose activities entirely depend on weather conditions.
“Users can now choose the threshold they are interested in – either as percentiles or rainfall amounts, as opposed to the usual terciles of below normal, normal, and above normal. Today, a farmer can assess the probability that total rainfall for the coming season will be above a given amount and decide whether it would be adequate to grow a certain crop” Minister Biruta added.
Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD)/SERVIR-E&SA was represented by Lillian Ndungu the Agriculture and Food Security Lead and Stephen Sande.