By Innocent Odoh The Conference of Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in charge of meteorology has adopted a Report meant to improve meteorological services and development of the region on Thursday.
The seven-page Report which was prepared by the Committee of Directors of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of ECOWAS region has six strategic pillars covering the improvement of service quality and service delivery as well as linkages and synergies between meteorology and development.
The other strategic pillars border on the implementation of telecommunication and the World Meteorological Organisation’s Information System (WIS) as well as a resolution to advance scientific research and application while developing an implementation strategy for same.
The Ministers also endorsed a plan to strengthen capacity development, building and enhancing partnership and cooperation, strengthening good governance as well as a robust monitoring and evaluation strategy.
After a one-day convergence, the ministers backed the ECOWAS Meteorology Programme which would be submitted to the ECOWAS Council of Ministers for adoption while the ECOWAS Commission is to work in partnership with other sub-regional, regional, and international organizations for implementation.
In monitoring and evaluating the programme, the ministers stressed the need for the ECOWAS Commission to drive the process by also strengthening the capability of the ECOWAS Department of Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources with a regional coordination.
In this vein, the coordinator for meteorological activities working in close collaboration with WMO and the Heads of NMHSs shall ensure the implementation of the set of projects that target the needs of countries, particularly those currently least able to provide necessary weather and climate services, among others
The Liberian Deputy Minister of Transport Mr. Bushuben Keita who chaired the ministers’ meeting had noted that the era where limited knowledge of current climate variability in the ECOWAS region led to a lack of planning for future climate change events and impacts should now be over with the adoption of the Report
He thanked the president of the ECOWAS Commission His Excellency Marcel Alain de Souza for his “thoughtful and resourcefulness” in bringing up this laudable initiative, which we Ministers in charge of Meteorology will lend support to.
Meanwhile, Mr. Touray Lamin of The Gambia has retained his post as president of meteorological services in ECOWAS Member States having emerged winner of the election in which he was unopposed.
Member countries which participated in the meeting were Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Stakeholder organisations which participated were representatives of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) as well as some private companies such as Avsatel Communications Limited, Alifig International Ltd, Ubimet and Pulsonic.