For the first time in history, Senegal held a National Climate Outlook Forum, convening multidisciplinary sectoral representatives to discuss the 2017 seasonal precipitation forecast for the country
Senegal, like other Sahelian countries, is subject to climate variability and extreme events such as droughts, floods and heat waves. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, extreme events will increase in number and frequency over the next few decades. Given the country’s economic dependence on agricultural and livestock activities, rainfall variability has a critical effect on the livelihoods of a vast number of Senegalese. This increases the country’s vulnerability to climate shocks.
Global initiatives such as the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) were established to respond to such challenges. GFCS facilitates the development of targeted climate services, seeking to contribute to increasing a country’s national adaptive capacity and resiliency to changes in climate. GFCS has invited countries from around the world, including Senegal, to implement frameworks at the national level and to develop climate-friendly products packaged and communicated based on the needs of users. The seasonal forecast is one of those products.
On 15 June 2017, the National Agency for Civil Aviation and Meteorology (ANACIM) organised the first National Climate Outlook Forum to disseminate seasonal predictions, develop recommendations for key users, and support the tailoring of seasonal data to inform decision-making.
Participants included various ministries; technical directorates; representatives of international and sub-regional organizations, NGOs and universities; representatives of the agriculture and fisheries sectors; and members of the press.
During the opening remarks, Dr. Arame Tall, GFCS Regional Coordinator for Africa, emphasized the historical nature of this first National Climate Outlook Forum (NCOF), which brought ANACIM’s seasonal forecast to users for their review and input. This co-production of user-driven and operational advisories, based on the seasonal outlook for the June-July-August 2017 period, aims to limit the adverse impacts of above normal rain events on Senegal’s key economic sectors, including agriculture, fishing and tourism. Mr. Alioune Ndiaye, Special Advisor on Africa to the World Meteorological Organization Secretary General, emphasised the critical threat posed by climate change on Senegal’s economy. This was reinforced by Mme Maimouna Ndoye Seck, the official representative from the Ministry of Tourism and Air Transportation, who highlighted the government’s commitment to institutionalising the National Framework of Climate Change, starting from her Ministry.
In the morning sessions, Senegal’s seasonal rainfall forecast for 2017 was shared with the participants. Potential implications on different sectors were examined in the afternoon. Participants joined thematic groups to discuss health, food security, disaster risk management, and water and energy resources in greater detail. Discussions focused on three areas:
- the intervention of partners and the measures to be taken based on the potential impact on the catchment on the basis of precipitation forecasts;
- proposed preparation and intervention measures at sectoral level; and
- identification of gaps that must be overcome and information needs for predictions where is no immediate answer
The workshop was deemed a success with the results of the 2017 seasonal forecast actively and effectively shared amongst key stakeholders. It was also a great opportunity for ANACIM to kickstart a co-production styled approach for future seasonal forecasts, to ensure that the technical meteorological information is adequately translated for all the critical sectors in Senegal.
This activity was conducted as part of the “Climate Services for Increased Resilience in the Sahel” project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
(The opinions expressed in this news article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of USAID.)
For more information on the project please contact: Veronica Grasso at [email protected]