The UK’s Met Office has announced two new projects aimed at improving weather and climate resilience for Commonwealth countries.
The Met Office believes that, without urgent action to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience, impacts of climate change could push an additional 100 million people across the world into poverty by 2030. This is particularly relevant for the Commonwealth, where more than two-thirds of members are small or vulnerable states, and where climate change may have a disproportionate impact on people’s lives, prosperity and security.
The programmes were announced at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which took place in London, UK, on 16-20 April. The first, a Department for International Development (DFID) programme, will see the DFID, the Met Office and the World Bank undertake the Asia – Regional Resilience to a Changing Climate (ARRCC) project, aimed at strengthening weather forecasting systems across Asia.
The South Asia region is highly vulnerable to weather and climate impact such as flooding, droughts and cyclones. In the past two decades, more than 50% of South Asians, approximately 750 million people, have been affected by at least one natural disaster.
The four-year programme will target the most vulnerable countries in the region, primarily Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan, and will deliver new technologies and innovative approaches to better prepare for climate-related shocks.
The second project, launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will see the Met Office Hadley Centre take forward a number of pilot climate services projects in Commonwealth member countries.
Professor Stephen Belcher, chief scientist, Met Office, said, “The Commonwealth brings together a rich heritage and shared cultural values. But these aren’t the only common bonds linking member states. Each is also inextricably connected by the shared impacts of weather and climate.
“Improving resilience and forecasting will provide a lifeline for vulnerable communities, helping them to cope with weather and climate shocks through measures that improve food security and provide protection from extremes of weather.
“There can surely be no better aspiration than sharing cutting-edge climate science to improve the fortunes and prospects of people in their day-to-day lives.”
- April 2018