AMCOMET-5: Integrated African Strategy on Meteorology (Weather and Climate Services)

The fifth Ordinary Session of the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET-5) took place virtually on 17 March 2021. The Ministerial Session was preceded by the experts’ segment on 16 March 2021. During the experts’ segment, the revised integrated African strategy on meteorology (Weather and Climate Services) was presented and validated. The experts also prepared the draft Ministerial Declaration for consideration and for endorsement by the Honourable Ministers together with the validated strategy.

The main objectives of the AMCOMET-5 session were to:

• receive reports from the AMCOMET Secretariat on matters arising from AMCOMET-4;
• consider and endorse the revised integrated African strategy on meteorology (Weather and Climate Services);
• elect the new AMCOMET Bureau;
• consider other pertinent issues that have emerged since the fourth AMCOMET Session, and
• adopt the Ministerial Declaration.
The outcomes of the session will be submitted to the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARDWE) which is scheduled to take place in October 2021.

The report included the decisions of the Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (STC-ARDWE) relative to meteorology and AMCOMET, which took place in October 2019, as well as activities of AMCOMET including the revision of the integrated African strategy on meteorology. Specific mention was made of:

  1. The endorsement of the Cairo Declaration in the AMCOMET-4 Report. The request for ACMAD to be one of the African Union centres of excellence was referred to the Bureau of the STCs;
  2. Progress on the Abidjan Declaration since its adoption in 2018; The Joint Working Group (JWG) for the implementation of the Abidjan Declaration was established in October 2019. The JWG is composed of RECs and their technical experts, RAIDEG Chair, AUC as Chair, AMCOMET Secretariat and EUMETSAT as co-secretariat, and the WMO Space Division as observers. The JWG has since met five times (one physical meeting and four virtual meetings). The JWG has achieved the following: (i) identified regional priorities; (ii) developed a Concept Note on MTG-AMSAF; (iii) Prepared a Resource Mobilization Framework; (iv) Commenced engagements with the EU on resources mobilization;
  3. Preparations for the launch of the MTG and progress on the African Meteorological Satellite Applications Facility (AMSAF); The objective is to ensure a smooth transition from MSG to MTG and establish an African Meteorological Satellite Facility (AMSAF) to develop tailored products for users. As with previous projects (PUMA, AMESD, MESA) there will be an upgrade of PUMA stations for NMHSs, to enable them to continue their nowcasting and forecasting services and other thematic services for specific regions depending on their priorities and interests. Eight thematic areas have been agreed:
  • THEMA 1: Transport (maritime, fluvial, air, etc.)
  • THEMA 2: Agriculture/pastoralism (including water management)
  • THEMA 3: Environment (Ecosystem)
  • THEMA 4: Energy (water, wind, solar power potentialities, dams)
  • THEMA 5: Blue Economy (Coastal and Marine)
  • THEMA 6: Desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD)
  • THEMA 7: Disaster Risk Reduction (Natural risk disasters including cyclones, drought, floods, fires, etc.)
  • THEMA 8: Health (including air pollution)
  1. The AUC-WMO AMCOMET Secretariat joint webinar on the impacts of COVID‑19 on NMHSs, and the Ministerial Decisions of the special session of Ministers responsible for environment and natural resources including meteorology under the auspices of the Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture Rural Development, Water and Environment (STC-ARDWE) on COVID‑19 (November 2020); The recommendations of the joint webinar established the foundation for, and composition of, the AMCOMET-5 Declaration. The AUC emphasized its commitment to implementing the meteorology-related decisions contained in the Ministerial Declaration and encouraged Member States to also implement the recommendations.
  1. Adoption of the revised integrated African strategy on meteorology (Weather and Climate Services)

                AMCOMET Secretariat presented the revised integrated strategy on meteorology (weather and climate services). The revised strategy now includes the following emerging issues: data, research, public-private partnerships and a gender dimension as requested by members. Five strategic pillars (SP) were highlighted:

SP1: Increased political support and recognition of NMHSs, as well as implementation of WMO and AU gender policy

SP2: Improved observational networks, data access and processing

SP3: Enhanced capacities for the production and delivery of tailored weather, water, climate and climate change services as well as early warning systems for sustainable development

SP4: Research, innovation development and training

SP5: Strengthened partnerships with relevant institutions, the private sector and civil society

The new strategic pillars are better aligned with the WMO reform and show clearly the need for data and infrastructure, service production and delivery through capacity building, research and partnerships, and strong political support. The implementation plan will be updated. Resource mobilization is in line with AUC and WMO funding mechanisms. However, there will need to be effective collaboration and coordination for successful implementation.

The strategy was fully endorsed by the session. Many Ministers including those from Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Comoros and Togo, as well as Commissioners of Regional Economic Communities expressed their satisfaction with the revised strategy and commended the AMCOMET Secretariat. It was noted that the Regional Economic Communities had already endorsed the revised strategy during the subregional validation webinars.

H. E. Vincent T. Dabilgou was particularly pleased with the revised strategy and the coherence of its pillars. He underlined the relevance of Strategic Pillar 4 because of the aging staff in NMHSs and the need to replace them. Moreover, it is important to have quality experts in Africa to produce tailored weather and climate information. He also emphasized the importance of Strategic Pillar 5, and praised the commitment and support of technical and financial partners who have enabled some advances in the meteorology sector in Africa. However, he noted the need to find sustainable resources to finance and maintain long-term national investments in meteorological infrastructure. He finally stated that Burkina Faso fully supports the SOFF, initiated by WMO and its partners.