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Norway and WMO sign an agreement to strengthen climate services in Africa
DURBAN, South Africa, 9 December 2011 (WMO) - The government of Norway today signed a grant agreement with the World Meteorological Organization to strengthen climate services and help vulnerable African countries become more resilient to climate variability and change.
The agreement was signed by Norwegian Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim and WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP17.
Norway’s grant will support the Global Framework for Climate Services, which is currently being developed by WMO and its partners to strengthen the provision of climate information.
"Today, we are not only talking about the weather and climate, we also aim to act on it. We hope to make an important contribution to the ways in which we prepare for increasingly unpredictable weather patterns," said Mr Solheim.
He emphasized the importance of implementing the Global Framework for Climate Services. “The main purpose of the Framework is both making available and using weather and climate information, " he said.
The funding – 56.8 million Norwegian Kroner (approximately US$ 10 million) for the next three years - will help African countries strengthen their capacity to develop weather and climate services at national, sub-regional and regional level and to ensure that these services reach the people who need it most – ranging from the farmer on the land to the fisherman in his small boat.
The grant will support improvement of forecasting of severe weather events that cause significant loss of life and property in Africa and in the development and dissemination of early warning systems.
Agriculture is a key area where local resilience against current and future climate variability and change can be strengthened. The success of locally-grown crops helps build and sustain communities. The grant will strengthen the operational resources of national meteorological services to provide weather and climate information to rural farmers.
“WMO greatly appreciates the support of the Norwegian Government to the Global Framework on Climate Services,” said Mr Jarraud. “This grant is a significant contribution to disaster risk reduction, to improved food security and better water management, and to the protection of lives and livelihoods.”
Mr Jarraud mentioned the decisive contribution of Norwegian scientists to the development of modern meteorology over the last century.. He concluded: "It is more than ever essential to provide accurate and scientific information about weather and climate to underpin decisions making at all levels and to contribute today to make tomorrow a more climate resilient world. It will also contribute to make sustainable development a reality".
The Global Framework for Climate Services aims to narrow the gap between the needs for climate services and their current provision – especially in climate-vulnerable developing countries. It will translate scientific advances into tools for action on the ground.
It envisages strengthening the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of 70countries that currently only provide very basic weather and climate service or sometimes even none to empower them to deliver tailor-made services to reduce risks from droughts, floods and other extremes.
The Global Framework for Climate Services has been mentioned many times during the course of the climate negotiations in Durban, showing wide recognition of the importance of improving weather and climate services and helping developing countries adapt to climate change.
It is important that the Framework benefit from the planned Green Fund to support developing countries with regard to mitigation, adaptation and capacity-building, which is being discussed in Durban.
The Framework originated from the World Climate Conference-3 in 2009, and was unanimously approved by the World Meteorological Congress in June 2011.
WMO is now working with a wide range of partners including many UN agencies, funds and programs as well as other international organizations to flesh out the details and to maximize the potential of the Framework.
Norway has played a pioneering role throughout the process. Jan Egeland, Executive Director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and former UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, was co-chair of a High Level Taskforce of experts which produced the initial recommendations and priorities for the Framework.
The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s
authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water
For more information please contact:
Clare Nullis, Media Officer, Communications and Public Affairs,
Tel: +41 (0)22 730 8478; 41-79) 7091397 (cell)
e mail: cnullis(at)wmo.int