At a meeting with the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, His Excellency Dr. Mulatu Teshome, World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Talaas reiterated the strong need for countries in Africa to support and strengthen the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in mitigating the increasing impacts of weather and climate-related hazards.
Of particular significance are early warning systems for disaster risk reduction. In addition there is an urgent need to build adaptive resilience mechanisms to weather and climate shocks in vital sectors such as agriculture and food security, water resources, public health, energy, transportation and the ecosystem, said Mr Taalas.
The meeting took place during the visit of Mr Taalas to Addis Ababa to attend the management group of WMO's Regional Association for Africa.
Ethiopia has been selected as host of the WMO Regional Office for Africa, which will be relocated from Geneva. This will help the Office to better deliver its services to Members in the region and promote closer collaboration with the regional institutions such as the African Union Commission (AUC), African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) and international organizations including the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and UN Liaison Offices resident in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, according to Mr Taalas.
The WMO Africa Office is responsible for 54 National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in Africa. “It will continue to partner with the United Nations and other specialized agencies in Africa to address issues of weather and climate extremes which exacerbate loss of lives, damage to property and also give rise to famine and diseases affecting the people in the continent,” said Mr Talaas.
The location of the Regional Office for Africa on the continent will be a strong channel of support from the WMO to strengthen early warning systems that incorporate climate management into development policies and strategies, which enhances socio-economic development for the well-being of the people in Africa.
Currently, WMO through its Regional Office for Africa, facilitates essential projects in Ethiopia such as IrishAid on “improvement of Agro-Meteorological information for small-scale agricultural production (Tigray and southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Republic-SNNPR) and Agricultural Climate Resilience Enhancement Initiatives (ACREI).