A regional consultation in South East Europe has discussed how to pool knowledge and expertise to improve the provision of user-friendly climate services to boost resilience against weather and climate extremes in a region which has recently been hit by both drought and floods.
Participants from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Jordan, FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine attended the workshop from 21-22 November in Antalya, Turkey. It brought together meteorologists and hydrologists together with disaster, health, water and agricultural managers, as well as representatives of the World Meteorological Organization, World Health organization and U.N. Development Programme.
Filipe Lucio, Director of the Global Framework for Climate Services Office, told the meeting that there was great scope to use climate services such as seasonal outlooks to improve planning and risk management in many socio-economic sectors to cope with naturally occurring climate variability and long-term climate change.
“The problem however is that the current science-based capability is not yet being exploited to its full potential to benefit society in many countries. Investments are urgently required to strengthen existing climate observation systems, research, information management systems, institutional and human capacities to factor climate information and services into policies targeting reduced disaster risks, increased food security, improved health and water management, and more effective adaptation to climate change,” he said.
Currently there are 70 countries in the world that do not have the capacity to either develop or effectively apply climate services. Some of these countries are found in South Eastern Europe. Expanding the production, distribution and use of relevant and up-to-date climate services can be best achieved by pooling expertise and resources through cooperation. A number of regional initiatives already exist to serve as foundations, said Mr Lucio.
The workshop developed an action plan to develop tailored climate services to support decision making in the initial priority areas of the Global Framework for Climate Services (food security, health, water and disaster risk reduction). This will require the involvement of all actors, including UN agencies, development banks, regional institutions, national governments and researchers in working together to generate knowledge, data, information, services and best practice.
Erol Aydin, Regional Director of Turkish State Meteorological Service, said that that regional forecasts and early warning are already being produced and disseminated. "Climate services can contribute to the health, security and prosperity of citizens," he said.
Mr Turkay Ozgur, Director of General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works, said the GFCS would be important in improving the flow of climate information to users to enable precautionary measures to address climate variability and change.
The workshop was organized by the Government of Turkey and the The State Meteorological Agency of Spain (AEMET).