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Few climate data is used in development process in Africa, says Janneh

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ECA Press Release No. 82/2009

Copenhagen, Denmark, 16 December 2009 (ECA) - African countries use very little climate data and information in development processes due to weakness in demand for, and supply of pertinent climate services, UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Abdoulie Janneh, said today in Copenhagen as UN regional commissions discussed their various activities on the challenges of climate change.

Mr. Janneh's presentation was on "Promoting adequate and accessible information services to integrate climate change into development policies, plans and programmes in Africa."

Mr. Janneh said integrating climate change concerns into development frameworks, policy processes and decision-making across a range of sectors and scales, is a critical step in managing climate change and its impacts in Africa.

"For a continent where so many lives, livelihoods and national economies depend on the climate, it is extraordinary that so far little use has been made of routine climate information to guide management decisions in climate sensitive sectors," he said.

The Executive Secretary also said climate risk assessment processes and management practices were inadequate and that most National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) in Africa had not adequately incorporated climate science into development programmes.

He said African countries have weak and deteriorating climate observation networks, low level of technical expertise to support climate science, weak link between the scientific and development communities, inappropriate packaging of climate data and information for end-users and low level of involvement of potential beneficiaries in information gathering, management and dissemination.

As a response to these challenges of climate information for development, said Janneh, ECA, the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank, have developed and are implementing the Climate Information for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) programme, which, he said, will enhance the use of climate information in decision-making by improving analytical capacity, knowledge management, capacity building and dissemination.

The five UN regional commissions organized the side event to provide regional perspectives on ongoing efforts in climate change and share best practices, especially on information services to integrate climate change into development policies, plans and programmes; public private partnerships on energy efficiency, assessment of the economic impacts of climate change, approaches to low-carbon development pathways and integrating climate change into sustainable management of natural resources.

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