Monday, March 1, 2010


By Judith Akolo

NAIROBI, Feb 26 (NNN-KBC) — The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is asking governments to integrate climate and weather information into their national development programmes.

The WMO head for Eastern and Southern Africa, Victor Simango, said Thursday that integration of weather and climate information into development programmes would help to mitigate impending disruptions in national programmes whenever extreme climatic events occurred.

Speaking at the 25th Climate Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) region here, Simango said recent events which brought about severe droughts followed by floodings, were events which African governments would have to live with as climate change posed major challenges to sustainability of national programmes.

Simango said the recent El Nino weather event which was experienced in East Africa had caused major setbacks in the economies of the region.

Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula called for the integration of climate early warning information in all climate sensitive sectors, including security.

In his speech, read by the ministry’s Director of Political Affairs, Ben Ogutu, the minister said the La Nina weather event which was experienced over the last three years, had led to a serious drought, resulting in severe disruptions in development programmes.

He said the weather event also undermined regional harmony resulting in conflicts because of competition for resources, including water and pasture for livestock.

“As you may be aware, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region has an arid and semi-arid climate with highly variable rainfall and frequent droughts which often are followed or preceded by floods,” said the minister, who urged experts in climate to integrate early warning information in climate sensitive sectors, including security, in order to prevent incidents which could undermine regional harmony.

He said climate extremes impacted negatively on regional food security, pasture, water, hydro-electric power, health, wildlife, tourism and infrastructural development, making the region the most food insecure in the world.

“As a matter of fact, the GHA region is a recipient of close to 40 per cent of the annual global food aid due to frequent droughts,” said Wetangula.

He said climate change was also a major challenge facing humankind with the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showing that human-induced climate change was real, presenting Africa as the most vulnerable region in the world.

Wetangula called for concerted efforts which would endeavor to address the problems facing the region and which would also provide solutions towards integrating adaptation and mitigation measures. — NNN-KBC

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