Countries need to understand risk better for climate adaptation and resilience, says GFCS Head

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Harare, Zimbabwe, 25 October 2019 (ECA) – With southern African countries constantly on the front lines of intensifying climate change, there is need for nations in the region to understand risk better for adaptation and climate resilience, says Filipe Lucio, Director of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS).

In a keynote address to a three-day workshop for climate resilient investment in reconstruction and development in cyclone affected regions of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, Mr. Lucio said in the absence of that understanding governments will not be able to mainstream climate resilience and adaptation to save lives and infrastructure when disaster strikes.

“Understanding of hazards, frequency, intensity and potential impacts is crucial for preparedness and long term development plans,” said the GFCS Director.

The GFCS was established following the Third World Climate Conference held in Geneva in 2009 after heads of State and government unanimously recognized the need to accelerate and strengthen global, regional and national cooperation and collaboration to ensure countries have access to the best science capabilities available to develop user friendly, relevant and timely climate services.

“Climate services provide climate information to help governments, individuals and organisations to make climate smart decisions,” he told participants, adding what is also of crucial importance is dialogue, cooperation and collaboration amongst all stakeholders.

He said there was need for stakeholders in the climate field on the continent to try and understand why in some cases people refuse to evacuate after impending disaster forecasts to see how they can improve on the provision of weather and climate services to the public.

“Looking at Cyclone Idai, it is important to find out if the people understood the warnings,” said Mr. Lucio, adding; “People should have adequate information about the risk, vulnerability effects of disaster.”

Mr. Lucio noted that to enhance their adaptive capacities and resilience, southern African governments need to invest in strengthening their capacities to deal with extreme events.

“They need risk and hazard information otherwise their development plans will be wiped out by extreme weather,” he said while lamenting the fact that various aspects of climate services remained isolated, fragmented and piece mail in nature therefore failing to address in an integrated manner systemic issues related to coordination and effective development and application of weather and climate services in support of decision making.

The workshop is deliberating options for “Building Back Better”, paying special attention to the need to improve resilience through improved weather and climate forecasting; integration of climate information into infrastructure, ecosystems and settlement plans; capacity building for the use of Socio-Economic Benefits (SEB) models for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); and innovative financing for reconstruction and climate sensitive infrastructure planning.

Over 100 people are attending the workshop, including representatives from the three countries, other SADC countries, the SADC Climate Services Centre, Regional Economic Communities, regional and international partners, including the UN family.

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Economic Commission for Africa
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