A recent session of the Conference of Directors of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in West Africa and the Spanish International Cooperation in Africa, known as AFRIMET, focussed on boosting capacity to support sustainable development.
“If Africa is to achieve the envisaged development objectives in Agenda 2063 of the African Union, we are obliged to support the various National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, the pillars for sustainable development,” said the Minister of Equipment and Transport, responsible for Meteorology in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, H. E. Abdou Selam Ould Abderraouf.
Discussions included new initiatives as well as ongoing interventions in agriculture (METAGRI), marine (MARINEMET), and health (HEALTHMET), which are vital to public safety and development in West Africa.
METAGRI is formulated around the concept of roving seminars which train farmers and extension workers on the use of weather and climate information to improve agricultural production and risk management. Farmers were also equipped with simple gauges to measure rainfall and inform their decisions.
MARINEMET seeks to enhance knowledge and tools used in marine meteorology to reduce loss of lives and property at sea, ensure safe navigation and improve fishing activities. The approach taken is to transfer knowledge and technology to enhance monitoring and forecasting of weather conditions in the marine environment. Knowledge transfer products include i) remote sensing products, ii) deep sea modelling and iii) port scale modelling. Technology transfer include the procurement and installation of tide gauges, automatic weather stations and computers.
HEALTHMET aims to strengthen links and cooperation between the meteorological and health services in the countries. Diseases such as malaria, meningitis are known to be influenced by climate conditions and the project seeks to establish early warning systems for health services.
Heads of NMHSs who benefited from the various interventions were satisfied with the positive impacts that these programmes have achieved in their countries and expressed their desire for continuation and upscaling of the interventions. As part of the Conference, AEMET and WMO handed over the management and ownership of the equipment installed under phase I of the MarineMet project to the Permanent Representatives of the beneficiary countries (Cabo Verde, Gambia, Mauritania and Senegal).
The Ministers for Agriculture and Environment of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the Ambassador of Spain in Mauritania, other government dignitaries, development partners and 15 heads of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in West Africa and the Spanish Meteorological Agency (AEMET), as well as senior WMO representatives attended.
Details of sand and dust forecasts for Africa are available here
The AMCOMET website is available here