Climate Services for Increased Resilience in the Sahel

Donors:
  • Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
  • U.S. Agency for International Development/The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA)
Project Partners:
  • African Center of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)

Enhancing the capacity of the Sahel region partners to develop and use climate services in climate sensitive sectors.

Many African countries are extremely vulnerable to extreme weather events. They face even greater risks in the future as human induced climate change increasingly alters the weather and climate patterns that societies have come to depend on. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Sahel will experience increasingly higher average temperatures as well as changes in rainfall patterns over the course of the 21st century. These trends will affect the frequency and severity of floods, droughts, desertification, sand and dust storms, desert locust plagues and water shortages.

The overall aim of the project is to enable society to better manage the risks and opportunities arising from climate change and natural variability, especially those that are most vulnerable to climate-related hazards. This is to be achieved by developing and incorporating science-based climate information and prediction into planning, policy and practice. The provision of more and better climate services will allow disaster risk managers to prepare more effectively for droughts and heavy precipitation; empower farmers to fine tune their planting and marketing strategies based on seasonal climate forecasts; assist public health services to target vaccine and other prevention campaigns to limit climate-related disease outbreaks such as malaria and meningitis; and help improve the management of water resources.

The project comprises these three major components:

Component 1 - regional: Increased resilience through the enhanced development, delivery and use of tailored climate information products at regional level in climate-sensitive sectors

Component 2 - national: Enhanced decision-making processes at the national level through integration of climate information into decision-making in climate sensitive sectors

Component 3 - training: Knowledge sharing and capacity development at regional level: Enhanced cooperation in the region for the development and use of climate products and services

The regional component supports the operational WMO Regional Climate Centre (RCC), namely the African Center of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD), and promotes consistent and integrated efforts across agencies and countries in the Sahel in order to avoid duplication and to optimize resources. At national level, project activities are designed to support the development and effective use of climate services in the decision-making processes of key economic sectors as identified in national consultations. (Following national consultations in 2014/15, action plans were drawn up and endorsed by governments and partners: Niger had its action plan endorsed by the government on 22-23 December 2015, and Burkina and Senegal action plans were endorsed in 11-12 April and 19 May 2016, respectively.)

The following table lists challenges and needs at national and regional levels and what we do about it in the project:

Needs on national and region levels What we do about it
Human and technical capacity development
  • capabilities to collect, develop and deliver climate services
  • appropriate tools and equipment for the delivery of climate services to end users
  • dissemination / broadcasting of weather and climate information to the general public and sectorial users
  • awareness and understanding of end-users for climate services
  • deployment of experts to ACMAD and in selected countries in the Sahel
  • at ACMAD: enhancement of computing facilities, software packages to efficiently produce the climate information needed, energy backup and broadband high speed internet
  • at national hydromet services: on the ground assessment of national capacities and needs, development of baselines
  • training programs to enhance national hydromet services’ technical expertise
  • training of trainers at ACMAD in the field of climate, climate change, and weather forecasting
  • creation of an ACMAD training manual
  • improvement of north/south and south/south collaborations
Institutional capacities
  • planning and implementation of national action plans for the establishment of climate services
  • establishment of national frameworks for climate services
Observations and data
  • capabilities of meteorological / climatological observation facilities
  • modernization of equipment
  • quality control of observation data
  • sector-specific observation data and applications
  • rehabilitation and extension of observation networks, ensuring maintenance
User interface and services delivery
  • improved understanding of sector-specific climate services in the Sahel
  • systematic dialogue between users and providers to address specific demands in climate-sensitive sectors
  • adequate communication channels with users in language and format
  • user access to expert advice and support to select, interpret and apply services
  • National Climate Outlook Forums to enhance the interaction with regional and national users and improve climate literacy
  • improve linkages and collaboration between ACMAD and national hydromet services in selected pilot countries
Communication
  • coherent communication strategy
  • how to identify and use climate services in the context of end-user challenges
  • develop ACMAD’s communication strategy
  • improvement of website, present information understandably
  • capacity development of the media sector in selected pilot countries

The projects main sponsor is USAID, NCR covers salary of experts deployed to the beneficiary countries who are based at ACMAD and FAO office facilities. NOAA contributes to development and testing of 3D-printed automatic weather stations. WMO contributes with project management personnel.