Climate scientists, researchers, policy makers, development partners and the civil society among other stakeholders are gathering in Kigali to attend the 50th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum – GHACOF50.
During the two-day forum, participants are expected to develop a ‘consensus regional seasonal climate outlook’ for the coming months of October to December 2018.
They will also formulate mitigation strategies to the implications of consensus regional climate outlook on the key socio-economic sectors in the region and understand the gender-specific impacts of climate, including user needs and service provision strategies for gender-sensitive climate services.
In his opening remarks, Rwanda’s Minister of environment Dr Vicent Biruta underlined the importance of climate and weather predictions and noted that the regional climate outlook expected from this forum serves an important input for detailed forecasts that will help to make informed decisions with regard to climate sensitive socio-economic sectors.
“Most countries in the Greater Horn of Africa are heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture. Rwanda is no different. This makes climate and weather predictions a concern for us all – from policy makers to farmers. By providing consensus on seasonal outlooks, climate sensitive socio-economic sectors can be better supported to build resilience for sustainable development” Minister Biruta said.
Sharing Rwanda’s experience, Minister Biruta mentioned a recently established interactive web portal for weather forecasts that has been helpful for the public whose activities entirely depend on weather conditions.
“Today, a farmer can assess the probability that total rainfall for the coming season will be above a given amount and decide whether it would be adequate to grow a certain crop” Minister Biruta added.
The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has become one of the most valued multi-sectoral participatory approaches to climate services, Dr. Assia Alexieva the World Meteorology Organization Representative said in her address to participants.
The forum is organized by IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in the region. The theme for this year is “Promoting Gender-Sensitive Weather and Climate Services”.