Africa must upgrade its early warning systems as climate crisis deepens, experts advise
Africa risks continued exposure to climate extremes unless it makes serious efforts to enhance and remodel its early warning systems, experts caution.
“The message for Africa is simple — increasing ambition for action is an urgent imperative,” Dr. Richard Munang, the Africa Regional Climate Change Coordinator at the UN Environment Program (UNEP), told the Alliance for Science.
Dr. Youba Sokona, one of the continent’s leading experts in energy, environment and sustainable development, warned that Africa must act to reduce climate-related fatalities and crop failures.
“To cut back on the mortalities Africa suffers as a result of climate extremes and to mitigate the annual episodes of food insecurity, ecosystem destruction and loss of livelihoods, countries on the continent are going to have to proactively and effectively strengthen their early climate risk warning systems to help inform and enable proactive responses to multiple weather variables like the recent torrential rains, which hit eastern, western and southern Africa, triggering huge crop and livestock losses, landslide and floods,” Sokona, who is also the IPCC vice chair, told the Alliance for Science.
The weaknesses of Africa’s weather and climate observation systems were recently highlighted in an Alliance for Hydromet Development gap report and also in last year’s state-of-climate-services report.
The gap report indicated that weaknesses in the continent’s early warning systems often contributed to inadequate climate data, whereas the state-of-climate-services report said that funding for early warning systems in many least developed countries was not always allocated to areas where investments are most needed. Both reports noted that only 40 percent of the World Meteorological Organization’s 138 member countries have effective multi-hazard early warning systems.
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