The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has declared its commitment to support the development of sustainable and reliable weather, water and climate services and their delivery to end users in West Africa.
ECOWAS is made up of 15 member countries that are located in the Western African region. These countries have both cultural and geopolitical ties and shared common economic interest.
The ECOWAS Commission declared its commitment at the second ECOWAS Hydromet Forum and Disaster Risk Reduction Platform Meeting from on April 20-22. The meeting was held in collaboration with the Government of The Gambia, the World Bank and the WMO. It also received financial support from the ACP-EU Building Disaster Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa Program funded by the European Union.
The session brought together over 500 registered partners from national services, bi-lateral and international partners, river basin organizations, civil society, private sector, research and academia. It adopted the ECOWAS Hydromet Initiative, the ECOWAS Flood Risk Management Strategy, and the ECOWAS Disaster Risk Reduction Gender Strategy and Action Plan.
WMO secretary-general Professor Petteri Taalas stressed the relevance of hydrometeorological services in the region and the need for improved observations to strengthen early warnings. WMO is involved in a number of initiatives to strengthen climate services, early warnings and support capacity development in the ECOWAS region.
The ECOWAS Hydromet Initiative adopted at the forum is an investment plan building upon an assessment carried out in line with both the WMO Capacity Development Panel’s Categorization of NMHSs and the Checklist for Climate Services Implementation.
The forum stressed that “modernizing every aspect of the entire value chain of hydromet systems and services will bring innovation to the ECOWAS region to better respond to the needs of end users,” and acknowledged the importance of effective early warning for managing disasters.