Five Sahelian pilot countries have moved forward since the first half of 2016 in implementing the GFCS at national level. These countries are Burkina Faso (one of the 6 priority countries worldwide where all UN agencies under the GFCS PAC have agreed to work together to support the national government to scale up climate services delivery for policymakers and vulnerable groups), Niger, Senegal, Mali and Chad. The National Action Plans generated in each country offer today a Masterplan on climate services action at national level, and identify the priority activities needed in each country for tailoring information products to meet user demands in support of climate-risk management across the five priority sectors of the GFCS. Often a sixth or seventh sector was added to align with national adaptation priorities. For instance, in Senegal, where tourism plays a vital role in the national economy, the additional sector of climate and tourism was added, to provide beach weather forecasts for tourists. Similarly, in Burkina, Mali and Niger, the Transport and Infrastructure sector expressed climate service needs that warranted their addition as a priority sector. The endorsement workshops for the National Action Plan are the final step in the official endorsement by national stakeholders, sector experts, national leaders and political authorities, and international partners of the national masterplan for climate services.
Pre-validations preceded each national endorsement workshop to ensure appropriate buy-in by technical and sector experts who would be collaborating from now on with the NHMSs in a new way. As per the words of a national stakeholder, “The National framework in Niger will revolutionize the way in which we interact with our sector partners-instead of only giving data to our health ministry colleagues as we did before, we will now be working with them hand in hand within the Groupe de Travail Pluridisciplaire sur l’Information Climatique, and co-produce a climate service tailored to the needs of health sector planning (Katiallou, DMN Niger). In Niger, as in many of the West African pilots, the former Groupe de Travail Pluridisciplaires established by AGRHYMET during the droughts of the late 1980s-early 1990s, have been proposed with revitalized and expanded membership to serve as the critical User Interface Platforms, opening a much needed platform for dialogue and co-production between NHMSs and sectoral experts across climate-sensitive sectors, for the co-design and co-development of tailored climate services addressing the need of decision-makers in each sector.
Validation workshops for the various action plans have been held in December 2015 for Niger, April 2016 for Burkina Faso and Mali, and finally in May 2016 for Senegal.
Cameroon is up next – where development of the national action plan, pre-validation by technical teams and validation workshops for the national plans are on the agenda between now and October 2016. Côte d’Ivoire, following inspiration from the West African pilot countries, requested support to initiate its National Framework, and will be organizing its first national Consultation on Climate Services on July 20-21 in Abidjan.
Photo Credits: B Dabo/allAfrica