Scientists should explore ways to improve the quality, packaging and delivery of climate information so that it is gender sensitive and suits the needs of diverse users, according to Rwanda’s Minister of Environment.
Vincent Biruta made the remarks on Monday at the opening of the 50th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum taking place in the Rwandan capital Kigali, with hundreds of climate experts.
The minister said providing forecasts in a more flexible manner and interactive web portal for example can help a farmer assess the probability that total rainfall for the coming season will be above a given amount and decide which crops to grow.
“I encourage climate scientists to down scale the regional forecast to national, sub-national, and local
levels for it to be meaningful in risk reduction.
“I also encourage meteorology agencies to present the forecast in an actionable manner,” said Biruta.
USAID representative, Brad Arsenault, the deputy director for East Africa environment office, said improved and detailed climate information will help stakeholders in the region to better prepare for extreme weather events and reduce risk.
The two-day forum is organised by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
Participants are expected to review lessons and experiences from the use of the weather products provided in the previous climate outlook and develop consensus regional seasonal climate outlook for the coming months of October to December, according to a statement issued by IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre.
The regional consensus climate outlook will be announced on Tuesday after two-day deliberations.
Participants will also formulate mitigation strategies to the implications of consensus regional climate outlook on the key socio-economic sectors in the region and understand the gender-specific impacts of climate, including user needs and service provision strategies for gender-sensitive climate services.
Regional climate outlook forums gained momentum as a regional response to the major 1997-1998 El Nino event.
The main goal of the forums is to provide consensus regional seasonal climate outlooks for applications in key socio-economic sectors in support of resilience building for sustainable development, according to the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre.