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The Climate for Development in Africa (Clim-Dev Africa) programme dinner dialogue was held at the margins of the UN Global Climate Change Conference (COP 20) in Lima, Peru, to discuss various perspectives for enhancing the provision of climate information services in support of Africa’s economic transformation and capacity to adapt to climate change. This Clim-Dev Africa programme is implemented under the auspices of the African Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank (AfDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and intends to strengthen the policy response to climate change.
Africa currently bears the greater share of the burden posed by climate change, even as it has enjoyed the fastest continuous economic growth of all global regions over the past decade. Africa’s economic growth needs to be resilient to climate change using the best sciences and climate information services. Climate information services are the dissemination of climate data to the public or a specific user.
Fatima Denton, Director, Special Initiatives Division, UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and Olushola Olayide, representative of the Commissioner for Agriculture at the Africa Union Commission, welcomed the recent operationalization of the Clim-Dev Africa Special Fund (CDSF), the financing arm of the programme housed in the AfDB. The objective of CDSF is to finance the enhancement of national and regional meteorological and hydrological services in providing African countries quality data and climate information services. CDSF has €33 million seed money from the Swedish International Development Agency, the European Union and Nordic Development Fund.
Alex Rugamba, Director of the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department of the AfDB, said that “improving weather and hydrological observation network in Africa is an enormous undertaking that not only requires significant resources, but is also essential for Africa’s ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change.”
As an example, Clim-Dev Africa Special Fund has just approved its first project of €1 million to support enhancing access to climate data and information services in Ethiopia. This project aims to improve early warning systems for climate change adaptation in key climate sensitive sectors of agriculture, water, energy and health. Twenty automated meteorological monitoring stations and seven mobile calibration units will be added to the Ethiopian network.
The Environment Minister from Senegal, Abdoulaye Baldé, highlighted the importance of climate information to enhance resilience of crops in the agriculture sector. Climate affects sectors in a variety of ways and many climate services are used differently for the different sectors.
For her part, ECA’s Denton also stressed that climate information services provide the shield for safeguarding the gains made in economic growth, and capitalizing on emerging opportunities for continuous growth. Besides encapsulating Africa’s development from climate impacts, it can be a catalyst for increasing the scope and scale of transformation, and serving as a lubricant for interrelated sectors in optimizing their productivities cost-effectively, while minimizing trade-offs across systems.
Various perspectives from experts, policy-makers, actors and the private sectors about the means to increase in investments in climate information services and the need for further partnerships were also discussed.