African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology appoints new Bureau

The 5th African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET-5) Session, which took place virtually on 17 March, elected a new Bureau and adopted the revised Integrated African Strategy on Meteorology (AMCOMET) Strategy (Weather and Climate Services).

The new Bureau, which will be in office for two years, is composed of:

  • Chair: Cameroon’s Minister of Transport, Mr Jean Ernest Masséna Ngalle Bibehe
  • First Vice-Chair: Sudan’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resource, Prof. Yasir Abbas M. Ali
  • Second Vice-Chair: Niger Republic’s Minister of Transport, Mr Sadou Seydou
  • Third Vice-Chair: Mozambique’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr Janfar Abdulai.

The previous chair is now the Rapporteur and will be represented by Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation, Mr Mohamed Manar Anba.

The Strategy on Meteorology had earlier been reviewed and validated by AMCOMET Member States in five virtual regional meetings, organized and hosted by the African Union from 23–27 November 2020. The revisions highlight emerging issues such as gender, data and infrastructures, research, innovation, development and training as well as public-private engagement. AMCOMET-5 further established the ClimDev Special Fund (CDSF) AMCOMET Facility Fund to mobilize resources for implementation of the Strategy on Meteorology. The Ministers also welcomed the establishment of the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) that was established by WMO in collaboration with international organizations, under the umbrella of Alliance for Hydromet Development. There was a strong call on partners for good coordination in the implementation of the revised African Strategy on Meteorology to avoid duplication of efforts and to maximize human, financial and time resources.

The Ministers took note of significant progress made in other areas since the fourth session of AMCOMET. This included implementation of the Abidjan Declaration on the Next Generation Satellite Products for Weather and Climate Services in Africa, and the establishment of a joint working group to operationalize the Declaration. This Joint Working Group is expected to facilitate African preparedness for, and ensure a smooth transition to, Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites and establish an African Meteorological Satellite Application Facility (AMSAF).

AMCOMET’s participation in the Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (AFRSD) in February 2020 in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, was also highlighted. There, AMCOMET called upon its Members to give more recognition to hydrometeorological services, noting that disasters related to natural hazards are on the rise in Africa and due to the increase in frequency and severity of extreme hydrometeorological events. Ministers also took note of the joint WMO and African Union Commission webinar in June 2020 on the impacts of COVID-19 on national and hydrological services in Africa, which brought to the fore that many essential services had been interrupted and needed government support.

Other deliberations addressed the Minamata Convention on the banning, transportation and use of mercury, which came into force in December 2020. The Ministers were urged to support the Convention and replace their Mercury-based instruments.

The outcomes of AMCOMET-5 were summarized in the AMCOMET-5 Declaration.

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