J7.4 Enhancing National Climate Services to Support Climate-Sensitive Health Decisions in Africa

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 9:15 AM
Conference Center: Tahoma 5 (Washington State Convention Center )
Tufa Dinku, Columbia University, Palisades, NY

Decision-relevant information on the past climate, recent trends, likely future trajectories, and associated impacts could play a critical role in national development planning; helping policy and decision makers to better manage climate risks and maximize opportunities.  Climate information could be used to support early warning systems that alert decision-makers to potential food insecurity, or to better map populations and systems where climate poses a risk and thus improve long term planning.

However, it is disconcerting to note that climate information is not widely used in Africa to make development decisions. This is mainly because useful information is often not available or, if it does exist, is inaccessible to those that need it most.

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), in collaboration with National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) and other partners, has been leading an ambitious effort to simultaneously improve the availability, access and use of climate information at the national level. The Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) initiative focuses on enabling NMHS to create reliable climate information that is suitable for national and local decision-making. Data availability is improved by blending national observations with satellite and other proxies. Data access and use is improved by providing online tools for data visualization and download and training users. The online tools are integrated into the NMHS web pages. The ENACTS approach overcomes traditional barriers in data quality and access. The spatially and temporally continuous datasets allow for characterization of climate risks at a local scale, and offer a low-cost, high impact opportunity with major potential to support climate resilient development.

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