WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas has met with the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Yahya Ould Hademine, to agree on the preparation of a development plan for its National Meteorological and Hydrological Service.
The meeting came as Mr Taalas addressed a national consultation workshop for the National Framework for Climate Services of Mauritania on 20 February. The workshop brought together experts of the Office National de Météorologie and key decision-makers to discuss how the challenges posed by climate variability and change can be addressed using climate information and transformed through climate services into opportunities for different socioeconomic sectors.
“I wish to reassure you of the commitment of WMO to continue assisting Mauritania in strengthening its Office National de Météorologie so that it can play a more meaningful role in the sustainable development efforts of the country. In this effort we will require the support of the government of the Islamic Republic or Mauritania so that collectively we can enable effective weather and climate services,” said Mr Taalas, who also met ministers of transport, agriculture, education and fisheries.
Mauritania belongs to the African Sahel zone, which is exposed to extreme weather and climate events, including recurrent droughts and flooding. Environmental degradation and desertification compound the challenges.
“In West Africa and Mauritania, each rainy season comes with its peculiarities. The weather and climate community is expected to provide guidance to stakeholders to make the best use of the opportunities and to keep risks to a minimum. Outside the rainy season, the occurrence of dust storms must be mitigated to support key sectors such as transportation, health, tourism and leisure,” said Mr Taalas.
“It is important to characterize the benefits of climate services in Mauritania. Climate services support society’s continuing effort to be productive and prosperous, and to manage impacts. The Global Framework of Climate Services (GFCS) Office will provide technical assistance for Mauritania to develop its National Framework for Climate Services,” said Mr Taalas.
“Livelihoods in many countries of West African depend heavily on the climate system. Agriculture and the extraction of non-mineral natural resources remain the major sectors for food production and provide employment for more than 60 percent of the active population. As climate change intensifies, the need for adaptation through appropriate climate risk management strategies to support livelihoods and to save lives and property has become more urgent than ever before,” he said.
Thus, the overall objective of the WMO GFCS is to enhance the capacity of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and partner organizations to deliver climate information, products and services to support socioeconomic sectors and contribute to the sustainable development of their countries.