Ministerial conference seeks to enhance investment in African meteorological services

Friday, February 15, 2019 - 12:10

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) ) and the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the Government of Egypt are convening the 4thAfrican Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET-4), bringing top-level decision-makers together with weather and climate experts to strengthen the continent’s response to challenges of severe  weather and extreme events exacerbated by climate change,  which are undermining sustainable development.

AMCOMET 4 will take place on 21 February 2019 in Cairo, Egypt, hosted by the Egyptian Meteorological Authority. It will be preceded by the Joint AMCOMET-Regional Association I (Africa) Technical Conference from 18-20 February, and followed by the 17th session of WMO’s Regional Association (RA I-17) from  22-23 February. 

The Ministerial Conference is a joint initiative of AUC and WMO whose objective is to  provide political leadership, policy direction and advocacy to enhance  the provision of weather, water and climate information and services that meet sector specific needs such as in agriculture, health, transportation and energy among others. The Conference seeks to galvanize  investment in National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) by governments and development partners to enable them produce and deliver tailor-made services to support sustainable development.

The increasing vulnerability of people and infrastructure to hydro-meteorological hazards has consequences for developing economies and the human and environmental security of African Member States. As a result, the demands of society, business and governments for accurate, timely and reliable weather forecasts and seasonal climate outlooks are increasing rapidly. These are vital for food security, improved water management, disaster risk reduction and better health, as well as for safe and regular air, land and sea transport.

Climate change is hitting Africa hard. Temperatures are rising in Africa at a faster rate than the global average, accompanied by extreme weather events, with increased intensity including storms, floods, drought and heatwaves. Torrential  rains and flash floods have killed hundreds and displaced many thousands of people across East Africa in 2018, whilst the severe drought in southern and eastern Africa associated with the strong El Niño event of 2017 led to a major increase in food insecurity and malnutrition. Floods frequently trigger land/mudslides, with tragic consequences, and compound water-borne diseases like cholera, typhoid, dermatosis, viral diseases, etc. Environmental degradation and desertification is a big problem for many countries in western, central and northern Africa, with severe sand and dust storms causing disruption to transport and harming health. Rapid urbanization due to rural-urban migration is contributing to increased water stress.

The scientific and technological revolution in weather forecasting in recent decades improves the  ability of NMHSs to provide accurate and reliable forecasts to lessen the impacts of extreme events, provided they are adequately funded and staffed. . But, to date these technological developments have not yet fully materialized in many developing countries in Africa.

The benefits of scientific and technological revolution in weather forecasting have not reached many parts of the African continent where there is still considerable capacity and technological gaps, in particular in service delivery to key productive and economic sectors. Technology transfer, knowledge sharing and regional cooperation are essential for African NMHSs to access and apply the existing knowledge used globally to ensure the provision of high quality services.

Immediate steps need to be taken to enhance and maintain observation networks and drastically improve the acquisition and international exchange of observational data over Africa. These are the fundamental blocks that will strengthen and modernize NMHSs to perform their public functions. Building on this public sector investment, NMHSs can then exploit the potential to provide value added commercial services in support of national economic development in collaboration with the private sector as appropriate.

The three-day joint AMCOMET-RA I Technical conference is titled “Effective Leadership as a sustainable pathway for National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in Africa.” It seeks to enhance the capacity of NMHSs for efficient and effective delivery of weather, climate and water services, which will address the frequent loss of lives and damage to property and for the social-economic benefits of the continent.

The expected outcomes of this conference and succeeding Ministerial Segment of AMCOMET-4 are as follows:

● Enhanced understanding of decision makers and related institutions to support science-based decisions that inform policy to mainstream weather, water, climate services into socioeconomic development and promote increased National funding to NMHSs;

● Increased knowledge of NMHSs to enhance their capacity to perform their mandate, by acquiring relevant information on new tools for collecting, processing and disseminating information and services to user sectors (agriculture, water, health, disaster risk reduction and energy, among others) as a contribution to sustainable development;

● Concrete actions identified to support NMHSs in Africa develop and retain sustainable skills, expertise and competencies to produce customer-tailored services as well as provide good leadership required to interact effectively with decision makers in government; and

● Enhanced understanding of the weather-water-climate user community on the added value of engaging in Public Private Partnerships in support of NMHSs to collect and process data and deliver services as required.

For more information:

The Joint AMCOMET technical segment and RAI technical conference takes place from 18-20 February. Details are available here.

The AMCOMET Ministerial segment will take place on 21 February.

The 17th session of the Regional Association I (RA I-17) will take place from 22 to 23 February. It will be preceded by a Women’s Leadership Workshop, which takes place from 16 to 17 February.


Egyptian Meteorological Authority
Al khalifa El Maamoun St.
Kobry Al Qubba
Beside Ministry of Defence 
Cairo, Egypt

It includes addresses by

H.E. Mr Gilberto Correia Carvalho Silva, Minister of Agriculture and Environment, Republic of Cabo Verde, chair of AMCOMET.

H.E. Lieutenant General Younis Almasry, Minister of Civil Aviation, Arab Republic of EgyptProf. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization

H.E. Amb. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission

H.E. Mr Sekou Sangaré, ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources

All events take place at the Conference Centre of the Egyptian Meteorological Authority, Cairo.

For further details and accreditation for journalists, please contact:

Dr Kosmos E. Akande-Alasoka (DPA)                                                                            
Public Information Officer
Offices for Africa and Least Developed Countries/
African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AFLDC/AMCOMET)
Development and Regional Activities (DRA) Department
World Meteorological Organization
7 bis, avenue de la Paix
P.O. Box 2300
CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
Office Tel. +41 (0) 22 730 8097
Mobile Tel.+41 792573967