Faced with drought, flooding, and climate-resilient infrastructure, adequate hydro-meteorological services are necessary to support resilient growth across a range of sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa. But given 80 percent of such services on the continent are under-funded, have weak capacity and deteriorated infrastructure, collaboration is seen as the only viable solution to help turn the situation around.
Launched in June 2015 by the African Development Bank, the World Bank Group, and the World Meteorological Organization, the Africa Hydromet Program offers an Africa-driven collaborative platform for development partners to strengthen the capacity of African countries to improve weather, climate and hydrological services and produce timely, accurate forecasts, contributing to climate resilience, economic development and disaster risk management.
The program intends to do this by helping strengthen national hydro-meteorological systems; modernize regional centres; and facilitate regional system integration and global knowledge exchange.
January’s meetings were the first formal move toward implementing the program since its launch last year. Representatives from the AfDB and the World Bank met to discuss the operationalization of its activities which focus on investment, technical assistance and capacity-building, possible synergies and available sources of financing.
Both teams exchanged information on Hydromet projects currently under implementation, preparation, and consideration. In an effort to streamline their approach, it was agreed that a comprehensive strategy and master plan tailored to individual country contexts would guide the process in the future.
Given the important role of Hydromet services in agriculture production, food security, water resource management, air and road safety and disaster management, the mission further highlighted the potential of mainstreaming substantial Hydromet components in regular agriculture and water projects.
Having agreed upon the program’s objective, rational and approach, the next step will be formalizing the partnership in writing as discussion begins on the organization of a regional workshop.
“Given the scope of the challenge, the Africa Hydromet Program will require a joint effort to mobilize sufficient resources to maximize its transformational impact,” said ClimDev Africa Special Fund (CDSF) Coordinator Justus Kabyemera. “Once the formal agreement has been finalized, a resource mobilization strategy will be developed.”
The AfDB estimates as much as USD 1 billion is required to improve hydro-meteorological services in Africa with a minimum of USD 100 million to 150 million per year needed to modernize regional systems.
The Africa Hydromet Program has four unique features. It leverages partnerships and fosters interagency coordination; is aligned with the Global Framework for Climate Services and the Integrated African Strategy on Meteorology; champions better hydromet services as a public good for resilient development and poverty reduction; and encourages sustainability by blending scaled-up investment financing from development partners with corresponding operational financing from host governments.