Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), met with Yahya Ould Hademine, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in West Africa, on 20 February, to discuss the preparation of a development plan for the country’s national meteorological and hydrological services.
The meeting came as Taalas addressed a national consultation workshop for the National Framework for Climate Services of Mauritania, which discussed how the challenges posed by the climate can be addressed and transformed through climate services into opportunities for different socioeconomic sectors.
“I wish to reassure you of the commitment of WMO to continue assisting Mauritania in strengthening its Office National de Météorologie so that it can play a more meaningful role in the sustainable development efforts of the country,” said Taalas.
“In this effort, we will require the support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania so that collectively we can enable effective weather and climate services.”
Mauritania is in the African Sahel zone, which is exposed to extreme weather and climate events, including recurrent droughts and flooding. Environmental degradation and desertification compound the challenges.
“In West Africa and Mauritania, each rainy season comes with its own peculiarities,” added Taalas. “The weather and climate community is expected to provide guidance to stakeholders to make the best use of the opportunities and to keep risks to a minimum. Outside the rainy season, the occurrence of dust storms must be mitigated to support key sectors such as transportation, health, tourism and leisure.
“Livelihoods in many West African countries depend heavily on the climate system. Agriculture and the extraction of non-mineral natural resources remain the major sectors for food production and provide employment for more than 60% of the active population. As climate change intensifies, the need for adaptation through appropriate climate risk management strategies to support livelihoods and to save lives and property has become more urgent than ever before,” concluded Taalas.
The overall objective of the WMO Global Framework of Climate Services (GFCS) is to enhance the capacity of national meteorological and hydrological services and partner organisations to deliver climate information, products and services to support socioeconomic sectors and contribute to the sustainable development of their countries.
- March 2018