From 19-21 September in Abidjan, West Africa food Markets (WAFM) participated in the ECOWAS Climate Change Forum organised by the World Bank , the World Meteorology Organisation (WMO), West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), Le Comité Permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CLISS) and the Government of the Cote d’Ivoire.
The forum aimed to convene a platform for governments, regional organizations, donors, private sector, civil society, academia, technical community, youth and gender groups to discuss and design the future course of hydrological and meteorological (hydromet) service modernization and strengthening disaster risk management in West Africa with focus on the Sahel.
Climate change is already impacting agriculture and food security especially in the Sahel regions of Africa. The Sahel is faced with severe drought, and malnutrition due to low food production and unavailability of food. Developing countries need the ability to identify, predict and manage risks posed by hydromet hazards such as floods, droughts and storms that account for about 80% of natural disasters.
As a project focused on boosting production and cross-border trade of food in West Africa to address the adverse of effects of climate change and insecurity, WAFM participated in the Conference to learn at first-hand the national and regional policies being implemented to mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture and food security in the region.
ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Siga Fatima Jagne stated that the impact of climate change is “compounded by the absence of adequate and reliable real time disaster and climate related data and information and their effective integration into national and sector level public investment strategies and early warning systems.”
The Forum recommended the use of climate information as an agricultural input like fertilizer and continuous capacity building of meteorological service to understand and provide accurate weather forecast information. The forum further urged the increased sensitization and easy access to climate information by farmers, other stakeholders in the agriculture sector and policy makers
For WAFM grantees, participating in this the forum should give them the requisite tools in farming. It is therefore imperative for PMU to encourage its grantees to use weather forecast information as a good application to increase production among others.
The forum afforded participants to discover latest application in early warning services and systems that grantee and farmers can use to reduce the impact of climate change on farming activities. The event created the opportunity for development partners to understand the needs of various actors and user groups to customize programmes and investments in climate services and disaster risk management