Learning from the Impacts of El Nino 2015 on the Greater Horn of Africa Region

Kigali, 22-02-2016: The Nairobi-based Intergovernmental Authority on Development Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources of Rwanda and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), this morning opened the 42nd Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACFO42) in Kigali, Rwanda, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Minister of Natural Resources of Rwanda, Hon. Dr. Vincent Biruta, officially inaugurated the GHACFO42, in the presence of Mr. Zacahry Atheru, Programme Manager, Climate Diagnostics and Prediction-ICPAC, Mr. John Ntaganda, the Director General of Rwanda Meteorology Agency and Permanent Representative of the WMO to Rwanda, and the Country Director of UNDP to Rwanda, Mr. Stephen Rodrigues.

The objective of this two-day GHACOF42 that is gathering officials and experts from the Greater Horn of Africa region, is to “assess the impact of last year’s El Nino phenomenon and to put together a regional climate outlook for March to May 2016”, as stated by the Minister.

“We need to get better not only at predicting the weather and changes in the climate, but also at being ready to adapt to them and, when needed, provide early warnings to those in need”, he continued.

Hon. Dr. Biruta encouraged the experts to use “collective skills, knowledge and experience to produce a regional climate outlook that can inform policy makers in various sectors across the region”.

UNDP Country Director highlighted that there is need to re-examine the past, and see what lessons exist and how they can help to improve in areas such as communication, coordination, public awareness, early warning, early action, response and recovery.

Considering that La Nina has a larger humanitarian impact compared to El Nino, he added that he was expecting participants to “kick-start the discussion on La Nina preparedness”.

Mr. Atheru, speaking for the Director of ICPAC, pointed out to the fact this forum is benefiting from members states’ representatives experiences regarding the El Nino impacts and level of preparedness that was put in place by respective countries following the ICAPC Regional Consultative Meeting held October 2015 in Naivasha, Kenya.

He reminded the audience that the IGAD regional climate change strategy was in “the final stage” and that it was going to be validated during March 2016.

“We will also develop mechanism to facilitate exchange of information and best practices for dealing with climate change induced loses and damages, as well as strengthen action and support for the mobilization of financial resources”, he said.

The Greater Horn of Africa region is comprised of IGAD Member states – Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda – plus Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania

Source: EMM