Recognizing that Central Asia is highly vulnerable to weather- and climate-related disasters, regional experts and stakeholders are meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, from 8 to 11 September in the first GFCS Workshop for Central Asia to explore how to build greater resilience through climate services.
The Workshop was opened on 8 September by the Swiss Ambassador H.E. René Holenstein, followed by WMO Assistant Secretary General Dr. Elena Manaenkova, Director of the State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic H.E. Sabir Atadzhanov, and State Secretary at the Ministry of Emergency Situation of the Kyrgyz Republic H.E. Taalaibek Temiraliev.
“Climate Change jeopardizes energy and food security, questions water availability, increases disaster risk with negative impacts on ecosystems, infrastructure and health conditions of the population,” said Mr. Atadzhanov, and underscored that “the Kyrgyz Republic is ready for extensive and effective international cooperation towards solutions of global problems to ensure a sustainable development of the country”.
The region has extended mountainous terrain and variable weather, and it faces a particularly wide range of hazards. They include floods and mudflows, droughts, frost, avalanches, hailstorms and strong winds. These weather- and climate-related events cause a major part of all the economic losses associated with natural hazards.
Committed to ensuring that all countries can take advantage of recent advances in climate science and service delivery to serve their citizens, the World Meteorological Organization and its partners have established the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). The GFCS assists countries to build their capacity for delivering climate information, products and services to support decision-making for climate-sensitive sectors.
The GFCS Observation Workshop Central Asia is jointly organized by WMO, the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and KyrgyzHydromet. It brings together regional stakeholders from Central Asia and international experts in the sectors Health, Water, and Disaster Risk Reduction, as well as from the hydro-meteorological instruments industry which provides innovative measurement technology. The goal of the workshop is to identify requirements for climate observation in these three sectors. The workshop takes place in the framework of the international cooperation project CATCOS Phase 2 (Capacity Building and Twinning for Climate Services), which is supported by SDC and coordinated by MeteoSwiss.
“Indeed, the lack of high-quality climate data and respective climate services is a major impediment for developing sound climate change strategies and policies”, said Mr. Holenstein. “Therefore, systematic, long-term climate monitoring is fundamental to understand climate change – climate monitoring is a prerequisite for decision making on the global, regional and national level.”
More specifically Dr. Manaenkova “urged restoring and increasing availability of climate observations in Central Asia fundamental for improving regional long-term climate projections, seasonal to sub-seasonal climate forecasts, risk assessment and climate services to support adaptation to climate change and climate resilient sustainable development.”
Climate services build on the experience of weather services to offer science-based information and forecasts that empower decision-makers to manage the risks of climate variability and change. The providers of climate services consult with users to determine what kind of information they need, when and how often, and in what format. They then deliver the information and assist their clients to interpret and apply it.
For example, a health service provider could use forecasts of droughts, heatwaves and floods to ensure that medical services and supplies are available where and when needed. A farmer may depend on seasonal forecasts to decide what crops to plant and when to irrigate or harvest. A water manager can analyze climate information in order to estimate available water supplies, while a first responder could coordinate with forecasters to prevent storms and other hazards from turning into disasters that destroy lives and property.
These professionals and countless others can benefit enormously from increasingly accurate and user-friendly climate services to provide them with information for making decisions. Drawing on rapid advances in climate science and a growing understanding of how people use climate information, climate services are an essential decision-support tool for the 21st century.
The international community established the GFCS to promote operational climate services at the national and regional levels. This intergovernmental partnership is led by the WMO and supported by United Nations agencies and other international organizations with diverse, cross-cutting mandates. The Framework’s contribution to climate change adaptation and resilience has been recognized by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.