Improving climate information in Africa

'With these improved hydromet monitoring systems, countries are able to collect and disseminate valuable climate and weather information that can be used to save lives, build livelihoods and support better climate planning on regional, national and international levels.'

July 10, 2017 - UNDP, through its Multi Country Programme on Climate Information for Resilient Development in Africa (CIRDA), provides high-level technical support to 11 African countries that are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Liberia, Malawi, Sao Tome, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The programme works to enhance national capacities in collecting reliable and relevant climate information to feed into early warning systems and provide climate services for climate change adaptation and development.

The Programme has been active since 2013, working in partnership with these developing nations to build a hands-on approach to identify innovative, cost-effective and scientifically reliable observation equipment to improve monitoring and reporting on fast-acting weather events and long-term climate trends.

“With these improved hydromet monitoring systems, countries are able to collect and disseminate valuable climate and weather information that can be used to save lives, build livelihoods and support better climate planning on regional, national and international levels,” said Bonizella Biagini, UNDP Programme Manager for the CIRDA programme. “These next-generation national data systems favor an end-to-end approach that can result in the development of improved climate services that can be used to improve production on the farm, protect valuable assets and support evidence-based decisions to improve National Adaptation Plans and inform long-term investments.”

With the support of CIRDA experts on weather monitoring technologies, hydrology and forecasting, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone have successfully procured and installed innovative and effective early warning systems and services.

“This is a significant achievement for these countries. Not only will these new systems support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and better planning, but they are also central in providing vulnerable farmers living on less than $2 a day with the information they need to protect lives and create a brighter future,” said Biagini. 

Through the CIRDA programme, the Gambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia have benefited from in-country training to enhance data-rescue capacities thus favoring better forecasting. Benin successfully established an effective Standard Operating Procedures to communicate early warnings in the case of flooding. This early warning system provides over 800,000 people with access to flood warnings.

In addition, the hosting of regional and national hackathons has resulted in the development of innovative and regionally appropriate last mile services.

The Programme has also worked with partner countries to ensure that these services go beyond the project’s lifetime to ensure long-term capacity for climate resilience. This has included commissioning a regional market study to identify the potential of developing climate services and the potential public-private partnerships that can be made to benefit the long-term sustainability of National HydroMeteorological Services, thus facilitating a financially sustainable approach to climate information services.

Last Updated: 11 Jul 2017