Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Climate experts have called for the coordination and collaboration of institutions that focus on weather and climate issues to improve disaster awareness and reduce loss of human life and infrastructure.
This came out yesterday at an ongoing three-day workshop on Climate Resilient Investment in Reconstruction and Development in Cyclone-affected regions of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
The workshop, which is the first of its kind, is being attended by experts from the meteorological sectors of the three countries, Ministry of Local Government officials and other stakeholders.
The workshop was organised by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Department for International Development (DFID) and United Kingdom’s Meteorological Office.
The experts noted that there was need to start the process of integration of responsible authorities and institutions to mobilise resources to support climate resilience.
Speaking at the function, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa/African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) representative Dr James Murombedzi said there was need to integrate climate services into the way people construct infrastructure and manage ecosystems and frameworks.
“We want to start the process of integration between producers and users of weather information to understand the costs of disasters on people and the socio -economic impact,” he said.
Global Framework for Climate Services director Dr Filipe Lucio said stakeholders should understand the risk associated with weather disasters.
“Looking at Cyclone Idai, it is important to find out if the people understood the warnings,” he said.
“We should think of socio-economic elements associated with disasters. There should be social protection services to be put in place.”
Dr Lucio expressed concern over incidences where, in some cases, people refuse to be evacuated even after predictions of floods as they will be afraid of losing their properties.
“People should have adequate information about the risk, vulnerability effects of disaster,” he said.
Dr Lucio said there was need to improve on the provision of weather and climate services to the public.
The workshop is expected to initiate a series of initiatives to support the integration of climate information services and climate change considerations into resilience building in climate sensitive sectors of the economies of SADC.
The workshop is also aimed at reviewing the status of climate information services in the region, explore tools and methods for enhancing the mainstreaming of climate change in development planning, and begin to identify concrete actions towards climate proofing economic activities, ecosystems, human settlements and physical infrastructure, especially in areas projected to be impacted by extreme weather and climate events.
The workshop will also hear from countries’ first hand experiences of what the impacts of Idai were, why these impacts happened, share lessons learnt and introduce participants to the types of climate information available, as well as to tools and methods for analysing the information and application in decision making.