Excerpts From SARCOF-23 Meeting On Regional Climate Outlook For 2019-2020

Official Group Photo After the Forum

The 23rd meeting of Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-23) was held in Luanda, Republic of Angola, on the 28-30 August 2019.

Delivering his remarks at the meeting, Honourable Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology of Angola, Dr. Jose Carvalho da Rocha, said that it is crucial for the SADC region to produce timely and credible forecasts in order to minimize the losses resulting from recurrent weather and climate incidences.

Honourable Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology of Angola, Dr. Jose Carvalho da Rocha

He urged scientists to undertake studies, and provide credible information to the decisions makers so that they can take effective measures to lessen the impact of climate change.

Honourable Dr. da Rocha informed delegates that the Angolan government is committed to modernise the Meteorological services in the country (INAMET), which in turn will contribute to the development of Angola. He noted how important it for the institute to have an integrated database in weather and climate within the region. Dr. da Rocha further urged all stakeholders to continue fostering the SARCOF network so that decision makers can make key decisions and interventions at the right time.

On his part, the representative of African Union Commission, Dr. Jolly Wasambo, noted that increased frequency, magnitude, intensity and severity of extreme weather and climate-related events pose a significant challenge to Africa’s attainment of the goals of this vision by 2063. Dr. Wasambo reminded the delegates that the Republics of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe were recently subjected to the cruelty Cyclone Idai. He stated that the continent of Africa is experiencing widespread flooding, wild fires and other hazardous occurrences, resulting to loss of lives and destruction of property due to global warming.

He said collaborative and coordinated approach between the African Union Commission and Regional Communities in the implementation of development initiatives is key to addressing socio-economic development ills within the African continent.

Speaking during the meeting, World Meteorology Organisation Representative for Eastern and Southern Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr Mark Majodina, said Early Warnings Systems are set up to avoid or reduce the impact of hazards such as floods, drought, landslides and storms from extreme weather and climate conditions. He pointed out that the significance of an effective, science-based early warning system lies in the recognition of its benefits to local communities who are highly vulnerable.

Mr Majodina further explained that it is one thing to initiate an early warning system and another for an early action. Therefore, early action in preparedness and mitigation and/or adaptation are best suited to face the rising risks, and build resilience against extreme weather and climate incidences in the region.

Speaking on behalf of the SADC, Executive Secretary and Senior Programme Officer for Meteorology, Dr Prithiviraj Booneeady, noted that SADC strategic documents recognise weather and climate information to advance the SADC Industrialisation agenda. Dr Booneeady urged the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of Member States and SADC Meteorological Centre to provide timely and credible weather and climate services to minimize losses from the impact of extreme weather and climate conditions such as storms, tropical cyclones, floods, heatwaves and droughts which are often induced by climate change.

The 23rd Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum was held to develop consensus regional climate outlook for the October to December 2019 and January to March 2020 rainfall season. Stakeholders from various sectors such as Agriculture, Livestock & Food Security, Water; Energy, Disaster Risk Management, Conflict & Early Warning, Health and  in the public and private sectors constituted the User Interface Platform, to deliberate on the consensus forecast, and to formulate mitigation strategies for key socio-economic sectors in the SADC region. Most importantly, the SARCOF-23 convened to provide a regional interaction platform on climate forecasts for decision makers, climate scientists, research scientists as well as users of climate information.