World Meteorological Organisation and partner countries have launched FOCUS-Africa - Fully Optimized User Centric Climate Services Value Chain for Southern Africa - a four-year seven million Euro initiative financed by the European Commission.
• FOCUS-Africa initiative aims to deliver tailored climate services to increase resilience and adaptation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region in four key sectors: agriculture and food security, water, energy and infrastructure.
• FOCUS-Africa is one of a number of WMO activities highlighted as-
o Building Resilience to High-Impact Hydro-Meteorological Events in Small Island Developing States and South East Asia
o Polar Prediction Project
o Sub seasonal-to-Seasonal South East Asia Real Time Pilot Project
o Improved Coastal Inundation Forecast System
o Data Exchange Through the South East European Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System-A project
• Key Objectives
o To advance the way in which climate information (from historical records to seasonal forecasts and projections, also exploring decadal forecasts) is processed and used in decision-making, including policy-making for its direct uptake by the regional and national climate services providers.
o To characterize end-use requirements through regular engagement with stakeholders and active players in the sectors, and ensure that lessons learned are up scaled to other countries in Africa, Europe, and other regions of the world, measured via standard analytics.
o To contribute to the advancement of the scientific knowledge via publications and reports such as those relevant for the IPCC, through the innovative science developed by FOCUS-Africa in support of improved ways to use climate information such as better identification and characterization of extremes for historical period and calibrated multi-variable approaches to climate predictions and projection.
South African countries are vulnerable to climate variability, change and extremes. Water resources, agriculture, hydropower generation, ecosystems and basic infrastructures are under stress as a result of increasing frequency and intensity of floods, landslides and droughts.
The development of improved climate information and forecasts of decision-relevant parameters are essential to addressing these challenges. Tailored forecasts such as rainfall onset and cessation are regularly requested by users, along with the associated skill information. Development and delivery of such products and services, and the evaluation of their socio-economic benefits, are central to FOCUS-Africa.
The project, which embraces 10 partners from Africa and 10 from Europe, will benefit SADC-based users and the European consortium partners who will also greatly enhance their scientific knowledge and climate services provision.
The project will not only benefit the SADC-based users, but the European consortium partners will also greatly enhance their knowledge in both the science and climate services provision.
There is a dire need to streamline ‘adoption measures’ to minimize the adverse impact of climate change. This initiative would promote agriculture and food security, water, energy and infrastructure in a calibrated sustained approach.