September 12 – 15, 2017- African Union Commission Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Climate Information Services(CIS) and products such as climate-based risk maps and models, early warning systems, seasonal outlooks, weather bulletins, and tailored forecasts are increasingly recognized as transformational elements of sustainable development. This is especially critical for African countries highly-vulnerable to food insecurity and public health risks due to climate change. The African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) Secretariat, has recognized this as primary need of national governments as well as an opportunity for National Hydro-Metrological Services(NHMS) to use weather and climate information to better inform and serve their populations. Changing seasonal weather patterns and climatic hazard events are having significant socio-economic and health effects with primary focus on anticipating, addressing and preparing for adverse agriculture and health impacts. Despite recognized need and interest at national level, much work continues to be needed regarding data generation and its accessibility, existing technical capacity as well as the co-development of products for different climate information users.
The Walker Institute brings a long history of successful engagement and partnership with African governments, especially African NHMS, and remains a leader in taking a systems-based approach to defining vulnerabilities and identifying opportunity, working in partnership, with local governments to address these challenges. In line with AMCOMET’s objectives and strategic priorities of the Inaugural Hydro-Met Form, the Walker Institute along with development partner, Evidence for Development, continues to be instrumental in supporting the co-development of monitoring systems, forecasting tools, and social protection mechanisms to inform national governments of impacts to agriculture production and impending food security risks. The Walker Institute is also currently working with the WHO to support effective integration of CIS into health systems, to improve the use and understanding of weather, climate, and public health data to anticipate public health risk from climate impacts. Recent work will further supports applied research efforts into the development and dissemination of Disaster Alert Tools through the NHMS embedded RAINWATCH Alliance Platform, using near and real-time data. The breadth and scale of the Walker Institute’s work is critical to protecting the youngest and most vulnerable members of populations and forms a critical pillar within the Institute’s work to support climate-resilient societies.
In further recognition of our transformational work, the Walker Institute was one of only three academic institutions invited to AMCOMET’s inaugural Hydro-Met Forum, and the only research institute from Europe. As a research leader in supporting climate resilient societies, the Walker Institute continues to be recognized for its support to African NHMSs for the improvement to analytical capability, technical capacity, awareness raising and education of user communities, product design and importantly, dissemination efforts to users at national and sub-national levels. In demonstration of work and to support wider learning and exchange for Forum Attendees, Walker Institute representatives gave two presentations further highlighting the institute’s unique grass-roots approach and ongoing work:
- Developing the evidence base for demand-driven climate services to support an informed health sector response;
- Ongoing research and development of the Readiness Assessment Toolkit; defining the mechanisms needed to integrate climate information in health services
As a lead partner to the WHO’s Clim-Health Africa initiative, the Institute also co-lead the Forum’s Clim-Health Africa Session, discussing need and opportunity for increased implementation of climate information services within the health sector to anticipate, prepare for and address climate impacts to public health issues such as extreme heat, meningitis, rift valley fever, malaria, and malnutrition.
Recognition of work and contribution was demonstrated by the Institute’s participation as the only non-government agent throughout the closed AMCOMET Bureau Secretariat Sessions, which ran parallel to the Forum. The Walker Institute is now a Named Supporter of the AMCOMET Secretariat and member states, within a highly select group.
This Inaugural AMCOMET Hydro-Met Forum emphasized the need for interdisciplinary, collaborative and innovative research, analytical insights, and tools to improve hydrological, meteorological and early-warning services to achieve climate and disaster resilience as part of a larger sustainable development strategy for Africa. The Walker Institute looks forward to continuing our work in partnership with regional, national and sub-national governments, private sector actors, research institutes and members of civil society to co-develop and disseminate effective solution-oriented tools enabling the use of weather and climate information for improved food security and health of African populations.
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