NAIROBI/GENEVA, 24 February 2012
- Government representatives, climatologists, agricultural experts, disaster risk managers and others gather in Kigali, Rwanda, for three days next week to share information on the possibility of a third consecutive year of drought in the Horn of Africa.
The meeting is overshadowed by the world's failure to act on previous warnings of drought in the region which resulted in thousands of deaths from famine, particularly in Somalia.
Supported by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNISDR, and the World Meteorological Organization, the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum will meet for three days on February 27, 28 and 29 to discuss the prospects for the March to May rainy season and to consider measures to ensure that early warning leads to early action in the event of a failure of the rains.
The meeting will be hosted by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and IGAD's Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) representing Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
Laban Ogallo, the Director of ICPAC, said: "The climate outlook forum will bring together climate scientists as well as users from various socio-economic sectors and decision-makers including disaster managers to work together to translate the seasonal climate outlook into early action".
Pedro Basabe, Head of the UN office for disaster risk reduction (UNISDR) Africa, said: "Two consecutive years of drought in the Horn of Africa have resulted in catastrophe for many vulnerable communities. A failure of the rains in the coming months will leave them with little coping capacity to survive. This year, more than ever, it is important that climate and food security experts work closely with disaster managers to monitor any serious deterioration in the situation."
During the Forum, ICPAC and UNISDR will hold joint training sessions to help strengthen the existing cooperation between climate scientists and disaster risk managers to advance information sharing for disaster risk reduction in the region.
The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum comes in the wake of a new partnership forged between UNISDR and the WMO-supported African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD) to ensure rapid dissemination of weather updates to disaster managers.