African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology

African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology

The African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) was initiated in 2010 as a permanent forum where African ministers convene every two years to discuss policy matters related to the development of meteorology and its applications and its contribution to the socio-economic development in Africa.  

While meteorology is known first and foremost for its contribution to safe and regular air and sea transport, it does have several other essential functions:  it helps farmers to produce more and better, helps to combat diseases such as malaria and meningitis, and saves many human lives by disseminating early warnings of floods and droughts.  The delivery of tailor-made weather, climate and water services is increasingly needed to ensure food security, improved water management, disaster risk reduction and better health. 

This is the rationale for the establishment of AMCOMET as the authority that fosters political will to strengthen National Meteorological Services to enable them to fully perform their roles as a fundamental component of the national development infrastructure and a major contributor to economic and social development.   

AMCOMET’s key objectives are to promote political cooperation and streamline policies at a pan-African level and advocate for sound decision-making based on robust science.  AMCOMET will consolidate and build on previous achievements to further promote the effective use of weather and climate products and services that meet end-user requirements to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

During the Second Session of the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology/African Union Conference of Ministers Responsible for Meteorology, the Ministers adopted the Integrated Strategy on Meteorology (Weather and Climate Services). Furthermore, during the 20th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Summit, the AU Executive Council took note of the Report of the Second Session of the African Union Conference of Ministers responsible for Meteorology and the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) and endorsed the recommendations contained therein, including the Integrated African Strategy on Meteorology (Weather and Climate Services).

The African Strategy on Meteorology

African_boy_on_boat/Amcomet.pngDespite covering a fifth of the world's total land area, Africa has the least developed weather and climate land-based observation network of all continents, and one that is in a deteriorating state, amounting to only 1/8 of the minimum density required by the World Meteorological Organization. Most services have a stagnant pool of human and financial resources, and obsolete technologies limiting their capabilities to produce the best services needed by policy makers and other decision-makers.

The overall purpose of the strategy is to correctly position weather and climate services as an essential component in national and regional development framework and sustainable development in Africa, particularly in poverty reduction efforts, climate change.  Its objective is to enhance cooperation between African countries and to strengthen the capabilities of their National Meteorological Services.  The Strategy further aims to serve as a framework for integrated and coordinated mechanisms, which provides strategic direction to Member States and other stakeholders in streamlining policies that address challenges and opportunities associated with the development of adequate weather and climate services at the national and regional levels.

The Strategy focuses on five interrelated strategic pillars:

  1. Increase Political Support and Recognition of NMHSs and related WMO Regional Climate Centres
  2. Enhance the Production and Delivery of Weather and Climate Services for Sustainable Development
  3. Improve Access to Meteorological Services in particular for the Marine and Aviation Sectors
  4. Support the Provision of Weather and Climate Services for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
  5. Strengthen Partnerships with Relevant Institutions and Funding Mechanisms

The Strategy will ensure the implementation of a structured Global Framework for Climate Service (GFCS)  in Africa, based on the input provided in the Addis Ababa Declaration in Support of the Implementation of the GFCS in Africa and WMO’s Implementation Plan of the Global Framework for Climate Services.  Priority areas of focus of the strategic pillars are identified with a view to promoting the production and incorporation of science based weather and climate information and services into Africa development policy, planning and programmes.  

For purposes of commitment and deliverables, the Strategy has a time window of 2013 – 2017.  It is envisaged that the implementation plan will be approved by the Third Session of AMCOMET in 2014, and be immediately operational.  In the same vein, resource mobilization should commence immediately.

The Strategy was developed in partnership with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which was engaged in the preparation of the Strategy through consultations with the African Union Commission (AUC), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Member States, Regional Climate Centres, and other relevant stakeholders.