ECA Supports Ethiopia's Climate Observation Network

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Addis Ababa, 28 March 2014 (WIC) - On this day, the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) granted the Ethiopian National Meteorological Agency (NMA) 23 computers to support the upgrading of the country's climate observation network.

The donation is the first consignment in a batch of equipment that the United Nations Economic Commission is supplying to the Ethiopian Government through its ACPC for assistance to African countries.

The handing over ceremony was attended by representatives from NMA and ACPC. Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Fetene Teshome, the director of NMA welcomed the equipment, saying it comes at a time when the country is in dire need of upgrading its climate observation network to better cope with the negative impacts of climate change.

Speaking on behalf of the Coordinator of ACPC, Ms Fatima Denton, who was unavoidably absent, Mr Seleshi Bekele, senior water and climate change expert at the Centre said that the collaborative project between NMA and ACPC aims at building capacity for climate monitoring, early warning activities for climate change adaptation, meteorological data rescue and database management.

He explained that under the agreement, NMA will coordinate the process of reviewing a master plan for the upgrade of the Ethiopian meteorological observation network, carry out project implementation and organize capacity development training for the agency staff.

Under the auspices of the Climate Change for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) initiative, ACPC is also jointly undertaking a similar project with the Ministry of Water and Energy of Ethiopia (MoWE) to upgrade hydrological observation networks in the country. This project aims at strengthening the country's ability to better plan for the utilization of its water resources and to respond to water stresses brought about by climate change.

Science-informed and evidence-based policy, planning, and practice are essential in ensuring that development is more climate-resilient and less vulnerable to the expected negative impacts of climate change and in fostering sustainable development. In Africa, however, the acquisition, development and use of climate and hydrological information is very weak.

Ethiopia is one of the African countries that are highly vulnerable to climate change and climate variability. Extreme weather events are expected to increase with climate change.

Climate information is essential for development planning, adaptation to climate change and establishing early warning systems for extreme weather events. Planning that is strongly backed by quality climate observation data is a prerequisite for production of climate advisories that benefit local communities.

Existing coverage of climate observation network in Ethiopia is below the level recommended by the World Meteorological Organization. Like in most African countries, Ethiopian Meteorological stations are concentrated along main roads and in the cities. Ethiopia has a complex topography and requires a dense station network to improve the quality of weather and climate services. (UNECA)