The World Meteorological Organisation, WMO has called on Meteorological agencies globally to focus more on Impact-based forecasts that inform the public of what the weather will do so as to save lives and livelihoods.
WMO representative for North Central, and West African Region, Bernard Gomez, made the assertion to commemorate the 2022 World Meteorological Day in Abuja, adding that forecasts of what the weather will be are no longer enough as a significant number of people are still not adequately covered by climate-related early warning systems.
According to Gomez, Sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria are exposed more than ever before to multiple related hazards, which are themselves evolving as a result of population growth, urbanization and environmental degradation, hence the need for Meteorological agencies around the region to have a coordination between national meteorological and hydrological services, disaster management authorities and development agencies to enhance prevention, preparedness and response.
“It is possible to effectively prevent death and destruction of investments if the conditions which give rise to vulnerability and exposure to weather, water and climate hazards are well understood and the public is well enlightened through Early Warning.
“With evidence showing that extreme events of weather and climate will become more frequent and intense in Nigeria in the coming years, it is necessary to ensure weather, water and climate services gain the attention of policy makers in governments at the highest levels.”
WMO encourages the implementation of the national framework for weather, climate and water services through strengthen stakeholder collaboration and sub-national programmes for Agriculture and Food Security, Disaster Risk Reduction, Energy, Transport, Leisure and Hospitality and Health.
The WMO also invite Nigeria to take a leading role in its implementation of policies that would give room for expandansion, strengthen data availability, data sharing and data utilization for greater forecast accuracy for all in the sub-region as you Njgeria aspire to become a Regional WMO Integrated Global Observing Services Centre.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, “Early Warning and Early Action. Hydrometeorological and Climate Information for Disaster Risk Reduction”, the Director General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, professor Mansur Matazu noted that his agency joined in the celebration to emphasise the critical role of issuing warnings/forecasts early enough for prompt and early action by various stakeholders.
Highlighting the steps taken by NiMet to ensure impactful weather forecast, Prof Matazu said, ” To reduce risks associated with weather related disasters, both National Meteorological (NiMet) and Hydrological (NIHSA) services and Disaster Managers (e.g., NEMA, FEMA & SEMA etc.) must work in synergy.
“This will assist in better national prevention, preparedness, and response strategies. An example of best practice is the adoption of co-production techniques in the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) of NiMet. Which has over the years served as a multi-stakeholder’s Early Warning Tool.
“Aside the SCP, NiMet has an array of other products and services which are part of our catalogue of Early Warning Tools. However, these are perishable and must be utilised on time.”
He also explained that in his last in office as the Director General of NiMet and Permanent Representative of Nigeria with WMO, NiMet decided not only to wait for buy-in of stakeholders but also to improve on her infrastructure and creatively disseminate to as many Nigerians as possible.
“Our products (e.g., High Impact Weather, Heavy Rainfall Forecast etc.), have found their way to the Highest decision-making body of Nigeria, the Federal Executive Council. During the Public presentation of the 2022 SCP, we did not just present the Forecast as was our usual practice, but with concerted effort, we presented the translated versions, SCP summary for Policy Makers, Agrometeorological Bulletin, Climate and Health Bulletin, Marine bulletin, and first of its kind SCP mobile app.”
Prof Matazu furthermore revealed that in recognition of the importance of the seasonal climate predictions and other Early Warning products and services, the Agency has gone into partnership with government MDAs such as NIMASA and FMARD and non-governmental organisations such as HEDA, APPEALS, IFAD VCDP and LIFE-ND, State Airports such as Asaba and Anambra Airports, and host of others for improved service delivery.
Highlights of the occasion include the presentation of awards to participating schools that came top in essay competition, and presentation of a car to WMO.
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