Project to strengthen climate information, early warning system

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Addis Ababa, 5 March 2014 (WIC) - The Ethiopian Meteorology Agency launched “Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems in Ethiopia for Climate Resilient Development and Adaptation to Climate Change” 4.5 million USD project here yesterday.
The project aims at enhancing capacity of national hydro-meteorological and environmental institutions, monitoring extreme weather, and climate change and promoting efficient and effective use of hydro-meteorological environmental information ensuring early warning and long-term development plans.
Present at the launching workshop were senior federal and state government officials, representatives of various development partner organizations, CSOs, the media and UN agencies.
Opening the two-day workshop Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said despite the tremendous progress in the past couple of decades, Ethiopia has continued to be vulnerable to various disasters.
“Hydrological hazards, particularly drought and flood remain the leading causes of disaster in Ethiopia” the Minister said.
Alemayehu added: “The realization of government strategy depends on exploitation of our renewable energy resources, rehabilitation of our environment, intensification of agricultural and efficient land use in which adequate, reliable and up-to-date as well as high quality information is an indispensable variable in the equation of building resilience”.
According to Alemayehu, the project in close collaboration with stakeholders will support the government's continuous efforts in the climate information generation and use in Ethiopia.
Agriculture State Minister Mitiku Kasa also said the government has put a tremendous effort to avert natural and man-made disaster applying continuous monitoring and early response strategy.
National Meteorology Agency Director General Fetene Teshome also said that monitoring and predicting climate remains a basis for climate change adaptation.
He also said that with the current very low institutional capacity for monitoring and predicting of climate characteristics any adaptation measures could not achieve targets.
The Agency, the Director General said, will install the first operational weather radar in the coming months. It also aspires to become world class meteorological agency by 2022, he added.
UNDP Deputy Country Director Bettina Woll on her part said that addressing climate change can stimulate new markets, creates job thereby promoting better management of forests, women's empowerment, clean air and improved public health.
Ethiopia's experience in the area of meteorological activities is commendable which is by far better than any other countries which adopted such projects, as Benjamin Larrogarette, Regional Technical Advisor to UNDP and GEF.
Ten more African countries are also reported to have launched the project. It is financed by the Least Developed Country Fund of the GEF. (EH)