The First Conference of Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa adopts the Nairobi Declaration

Friday, April 16, 2010 - 14:25

Nairobi, Geneva, 16 April 2010 (WMO/AU) – Today, in Nairobi, at the invitation of the Government of Kenya, more than 30 African Ministers responsible for meteorology adopted the historic Nairobi Declaration in response to the increasing risks and threats posed by climate variability and change to development on the continent. 

By this decision, the Ministers agreed to strengthen the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and enhance inter-regional cooperation. They recognized the importance of weather and climate information services and products for social and economic development in various sectors, particularly, agriculture, natural resource management, food security, transport, health, energy and disaster risk reduction.

The African continent is particularly vulnerable to climate change. The historical climate record for Africa shows warming of approximately 0.7°C over most of the continent during the 20th century, with a decrease in rainfall over large portions of the Sahel, and an increase in rainfall in east central Africa. The frequency and magnitude of natural hazards, including droughts and floods, are increasing and affecting millions of Africans. However, before the adoption of the Nairobi Declaration, parts of Africa had not taken full advantage of the opportunities meteorology holds. In most regions, weather, climate and hydrological information is not available in a practical and ready-to-use format for most users.

The Ministerial Conference, which was organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in partnership with the African Union Commission, established a high-level mechanism, the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), which is expected to meet every two years to further develop meteorology and its applications in the continent.

The Ministerial Conference took note of the recommendations of the Experts’ Segment, which was held earlier in the week and agreed on, amongst other decisions, the creation of a sub-regional structure for climate monitoring and adaptation in Central Africa.

The Ministerial Conference called on technical and financial partners, and the UN system and its Agencies to support AMCOMET and the implementation of the African Strategy and Plan of Action to be developed by this new mechanism.

Among the recommendations considered by the Conference, WMO is invited to bring the Nairobi Declaration to the attention of its Executive Council in June 2010, to the 15th Session of the WMO Regional Association for Africa, and to the WMO Congress in 2011.

Mr Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of WMO said that: “Even though the African continent comprised 67 percent of the LDCs, it was endowed with outstanding natural and human resources with all the potential to transform its socio-economic and environmental reality. As the Specialized Agency of the United Nations System with a mandate in weather, climate and water, WMO is firmly committed to support Africa in these efforts.”

The Ministers also called on the African Union Commission to bring it to the attention of the next African Union Summit in July 2010.

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