Nigerian Government and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), have urged meteorology experts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to develop strategies to combat the threatening effects of climate change in the region by giving priority to meteorological initiatives.The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi gave this charge in his keynote address while declaring open the 12th Meeting of the Committee of the Directors of National Meteorological Services and the Council of Ministers in-charge of National Meteorological Services of ECOWAS member states, which commenced in Abuja on Tuesday, saying that the challenges of climate change call for improved early warning system as a means of reducing the vulnerability of people and infrastructure.He lamented that the effects of climate change characterized by extreme weather conditions such as thunderstorms, dust storms, gusty winds, floods, ocean surges, coastal and gully erosions as well as drought and desertification have continued to increase in intensity and frequency and resulted in poverty, diseases and underdevelopment of the region.
He urged the experts at the four-day workshop to take urgent action to combat climate change in order to ameliorate its impacts on agriculture and economic development in the region, saying “we need to make our agricultural practices climate-smart and infrastructural development climate-resilient.”
The WMO Secretary-General, Prof. Petteri Taalas, who was represented by Dr Ernest Afiesimama, said the increasing impacts of climate changes, pose imminent danger to human well-being and development pathways in Africa where the resources and capacity to respond are limited.
“This poses serious challenges to social and economic development, particularly because the economies of most African countries depend on climate-sensitive sectors. Furthermore, African countries lack the capacity and resources to address the multiple facets of the climate change,” he said.
He said that the conference was timely as it would address the challenges posed by climate change in the region.
“Bringing everyone on board common frameworks such as the ECOWAS Meteorology Programme and the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) becomes timely to address the certain climate change risks that threaten the region.”
According to him, it will be imperative to speed up the integration of climate risk considerations into development policy, in order to ensure that development proceeds along pathways that are resilient to climate change.
Also speaking, ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of agriculture Tchambakou Ayassor listed inadequate funds, lack of document and reliable data as factors militating against tackling the climate menace in the region.