The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says it is ready to enhance awareness toward tackling climate change in Africa.
Dr Agnes Kijazi, WMO Regional Director for Africa, who made the assertion on Friday, January 27, 2023, in a telephone interview, said that the WMO would continue to enhance its advocacy and awareness to the communities in the region of the extreme weather events through early warning and anticipatory actions.
“You may know that Africa is vulnerable to extreme weather events with attendant socio-economic impacts. We will continue to enhance our advocacy and awareness to our communities of extreme weather events through early warning and anticipatory actions.
“You are probably aware of the mandate from the UN Secretary-General to WMO to ensure that every citizen in the world receives an early warning in the next five years.
“We have started this process with a ministerial meeting held in Maputo, Mozambique, in September 2022, and we intend to escalate this to the rest of the other regional economic communities,” she said.
She said WMO Regional Office was saddled with responsibility to assist Members in developing National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to enable them to play their full role in economic and social development of their countries.
She said the regional office was also assisting members to utilise the services of the Regional Offices to develop and strengthen their NMHSs.
The director stated that the office constantly added value to NMHSs in Africa by improving the services they provided to their stakeholders in order to fulfill mandates.
“The office is currently advocating using digital technologies for effective and efficient service delivery to provide early warning services for all in National Meteorological and Hydrological Services.
“In addition, such technologies are critical for digital data collection, processing and services delivery mechanisms, as well as data validation, data storage and handling.
“WMO Secretary-General, Prof. Petteri Taalas, wants more proactive Regional Offices in line with Regional Offices Reform to ensure Regional office in Africa is more proactive as per that call,” she said.
According to her, the regional office currently facilitates more than 10 projects to foster on sustainable development by strengthening the climate services value chain at the regional and national levels.
Kijazi said the efforts were to improve adaptive capacity and resilience to current climate variability and change among targeted farmers, agro-pastoralists and pastoralist communities.
“Also, to enhance capacities in NMHSs in the provision and utilisation of weather and climate services in countries, to modernise meteorological services through digital transformation of data management and to enhance climate services among others.”
She said the regional office was in partnership with other regional and international organisations as part of its core functions in line with the WMO Reforms process on comprehensive review of the WMO Regional Concept and Approaches.
The director said the concept to deliver with sister UN agencies was to strengthen collaboration in the core activities.
According to Kijazi, the regional office recommends capacity development programmes of its staff to the WMO Human Resources through indication from prospective staff as outlined in the training plan or opportunities from external projects and activities.
She said the office also coordinated NMHSs’ training of their staff through various workshops and WMO Education and Training Programmes.
“The main current challenge is in relation to the regional reforms as highlighted in congress resolutions. We are setting strategic priorities to address this challenge through coordination and supporting Members.
“This is to enable them to implement congress and executive council decisions and minimise the existing gap in observations and Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems and service delivery.
“I have resumed and still assessing activities in the Office to further ascertain what challenges are confronting the Office through the monitoring and evaluation process,” she said.
Kijazi described her new appointment as the Director of the WMO Regional Office for Africa as new task that really worth it.
” have been involved in many leadership roles previously, and my appointment as the Director of the WMO Regional Office for Africa is a new challenge and opportunity for me.
“You may note that I was the Director General of the Tanzania Meteorological Authority and the Third Vice President of WMO.
“So, I wish to bring these leadership and management skills to the administration of the Regional Office for Africa,” she added.
Dr Kijazi resumed office on Dec.10, 2022 as a new Director for WMO Regional Office for Africa.
By Gabriel Agbeja