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Friday, September 14, 2018

NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow Co-Leads Climate-Health Working Group at Regional Climate Outlook Forum

Walker NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Dr MacKenzie Dove, attended GHACOF 50 last month in Rwanda. MacKenzie, helped in leading the heath sector analysis alongside technical specialists from member states, WHO representatives and the regional climate centre ICPAC. This important working group is responsible for identifying and evaluating the common health hazards across the region.

Regional Climate Outlook Forums (COF) provide real-time climate outlook products and consensus seasonal guidance to reduce climate-related risks and support sustainable development efforts of regions.  These forums bring together climate scientists, researchers, technical experts, development partners, decision makers and users from key socio-economic sectors. Technical sectoral assessments defined related risks and developed mitigation strategies at national and regional levels, for key sectors: Health, Water Resources and Energy, Agriculture and Food Security, Livestock, Conflict Early Warning, and Disaster Risk Management.  This provides critical opportunity for collaboration between countries as well as the necessary platforms in which to define impacts across specific sectors. 

The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF) is one of the most important meetings for the region.  The 50th GHACOF was held August 27-28 in Kigali, Rwanda.  This COF evaluated the impact of the June, July, August (JJA) 2018 season and developed the consensus outlook for the October, November, December (OND) 2018 season.  Sectoral technicians and climate-health experts from the 10 member states (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda) discussed anticipated implications of the consensus climate outlook. 

Post-GHACOF events also included workshops on the gendered impacts of climate change and discussions on the potential for greater integration of climate information and climate services within health departments and the specific needs of health sector technicians, specialists and service providers. 

Dr Dove explains, “The GHACOF forums present real opportunity for technical specialists and sectoral experts to engage across regions and exchange experiences and necessary information.  These forums are necessary to facilitate and support the collaboration, exchange and multidisciplinary discussions of seasonal and sub-seasonal impacts on human as well as animal health.  Through ongoing work, the GHACOF Climate-Health Working Group has seen the increased analysis of risks and related mitigation strategies.  Participation of health-sector experts at the GHACOFs has significantly increased in the last 18 months.  This has shown to have a profound impact on the region and the experts responsible for implementing prevention, management and response strategies.”

You can read the Full GHACOF 50 Statement here and the GHACOF 50 Health Sector Report here.