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FCFA and WISER programmes research on climate resilience featured at the 54th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum




February 4, 2020


The 54th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF54) took place in Mombasa Kenya on 27th – 29th January 2020. The forum was convened under the theme “Managing Climate-Related Risks for Resilience”. The goal of the event was to produce a regional seasonal forecast for the March to May season with some sector based advisories. It also incorporated broader themes of disaster risk management, climate change adaptation and resilience, and climate financing. The event also included an interactive learning session “the Market Place” that provided an opportunity for initiatives contributing to building climate resilience within the region to share experiences and showcase approaches, best practices and successes to foster peer learning.

The research of the DfID funded FCFA and WISER climate programmes featured prominently at the event. Prof. Fred Semazzi of the FCFA HyCRISTAL research consortium introduced Climate Risk Narratives and the Future Climate Current Policy (FCCP) framework to participants. These new approaches were developed by FCFA FRACTAL and HyCRISTAL research consortia to close the gap between climate science and decision making, as well as action by contextualising climate information to produce impactful messages. He shared the Climate Risk Narratives developed by HyCRISTAL for urban WASH and rural livelihoods in East Africa. He also facilitated group discussions and exercises on what actions are needed across timescales such as, in the next 5 to 10 years, in 20 years and so on, in order to prepare for threats that may still be decades away (40 years).

  Prof. Fred. Semazzi of FCFA HyCRISTAL project facilitating a group discussion during the Future Climate Current Policy (FCCP) Framework session at GHACOF54.

Three WISER projects and FCFA HyCRISTAL showcased their work in improving climate services in the region during the Market Place Session. HyCRISTAL shared their pilot demonstration work in understanding the impacts of long-term climate change on urban water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems with pilots in the urban centres of Kisumu, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda; and how this is used to project likely future flood impacts, and incidences of disease; and WASH interventions at a city-scale to enhance the adaptive capacity of water supply and sanitation in urban areas.

Under the WISER programme, the Rwanda National Climate Information Services (CIS) project shared their experience in capacity development, stakeholder engagement and partnership development to promote uptake and sustainability of the new climate services they developed. They also demonstrated how feedback from stakeholders is being used to improve the impact-based early warning products. The Aircraft Meteorlogical Data Relay (AMDAR) project showcased their work in promoting a public-private partnership between Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) and Kenya Airways (KQ) to improve upper air observations through the use of aircrafts on-board sensors for automatic data collection and relay. This is expected to improve forecasts and services and direct applications such as flight planning and operations.

Livingstone Byandaga of the WISER-Rwanda CIS project showcasing their work to GHACOF54 participants.

Also featured at the Market Place was the High Impact Weather Lake System (HIGHWAY) project that presented their intervention in improving Early Warning Systems over Lake Victoria by installing sensors and upper air observation systems. Additionally, working with stakeholders (fishermen, traders, local government, and the media) to develop new early warning information products and to identify appropriate delivery channels. The provision of early warning information has been piloted in Homabay, Kenya, Kasese in Uganda, and Muleba in Tanzania.

Finally, WISER TRANSFORM held its 3rd Dialogue meeting on 29th January, as a side event at GHACOF54. The topic of the dialogue was “Leaving a WISER Legacy: Structuring a framework for a meaningful community of practice for sustaining weather and climate services.” Discussions during the dialogue revolved around what needs to be done to ensure sustainability of the WISER projects’ work in East Africa.

Peter Johnson of WISER TRANSFORM facilitating discussions at the 3rd dialogue meeting.

It is expected that the innovative approaches to improve climate services such as contextualised communication of long-term climate information introduced at GHACOF54 will be put into practice. This will enhance climate risk management planning in the region where about 40% of the population is food insecure as their livelihoods depends on agriculture, which is largely affected by climate variability and change. This article was written by FCFA research fellow Zablone Owiti.