Ethiopia has a high annual precipitation variability. The country’s agricultural and water resource sectors – as well as the health of its population – are vulnerable to its climate fluctuations (see Figure 1). Recognizing the potential of a National Framework for Climate Services (NFCS) to assist these and other climate-sensitive sectors, Ethiopia held a national-level stakeholders consultative workshop in Addis Ababa on 26–27 April as an initial step in establishing an NFCS.
Figure 1: “Chronic food insecurity affects 10 percent of the population, even in years with sufficient rains…Drought is the single most destructive climate-related natural hazard in Ethiopia” (Ethiopia Climate Change Risk Profile by USAID, 2016).
The National Framework for Climate Services (NFCS), which is part of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), is a coordinating mechanism that enables the development and delivery of climate services at the national level. An established NFCS is key to improved risk management, through development and incorporation of science-based climate information and prediction into decision- and policy-making.
The event, organized by the National Meteorological Agency (NMA), brought together experts from various government and academic institutions, as well as other partners (the WMO GFCS Office, International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), and Christian Aid).
NMA Director General Fetene Teshome and Deputy Director General Dula Shanko introduced climate services available. During sessions and breakout groups, experts discussed data and product needs, access and dissemination of information, as well as related gaps, forecasts accuracy, availability of high-quality historical and real-time observations. They also discussed the tailored data that would be required for the various application areas in order to effectively reduce the impact of climate variability and change in climate-sensitive sectors.
Participants of the NFCS workshop in Addis Ababa on 26-27 April (Photo courtesy of NMA, Ethiopia)
As part of the next steps, the workshop agreed to conduct a comprehensive baseline survey. The survey will assess national capacity to develop climate services. Focus will remain on reaching the last mile and the needs of end users.
The workshop agreed on a multi-stakeholder NFCS governance structure in order to implement an integrated, collaborative, cross-sector approach. This multidisciplinary governance structure engages a broad range of stakeholders, ensuring that no one is left behind.
The NFCS governance structure consists of the Steering Committee and four expert groups. The Steering Committee includes the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, Ministry of Water Irrigation and Electricity, Ministry of Health, National Disaster Management Commission, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research/Addis Ababa University, National Meteorological Agency, as well as several optional members, including the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Transport, and Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change. The four expert groups will focus their activities on climate and agriculture/food security; climate and water/energy; climate and health; climate and modelling, research, and capacity development.
“Climate variability and extremes have always been a threat to the national agricultural production and supply of water and energy… The government of Ethiopia is determined to eradicate poverty and become a middle-income country by 2025… Addressing climate variability and change play pivotal role in achieving this goal. To this effect, the climate service the National Meteorological Agency is currently providing, has to be further strengthened to effectively support all socio-economic developments of the country.”
H. E. Dr. Eng. Sileshi Bekele, Honorable Minister of the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, addressing Ethiopia’s NFCS workshop on 26-27
International partners: role and collaboration
Converging efforts of different actors is crucial to leverage synergies, avoid duplication of efforts, and maximize the desired impact. In this respect, GFCS and IRI play complementary roles in enhancing climate services in Ethiopia.
GFCS is instrumental as a platform convening stakeholders and providing system-level advisory services. The WMO Step-by-step Guidelines for Establishing a National Framework for Climate Services (WMO-No. 1206, 2018) supports NFCS governance.
IRI stands out in its ability to provide high-quality, decision-relevant climate data and information products at different timescales throughout the world. The IRI Climate and Society Map Room, built on the IRI Data Library, is a collection of interactive maps and figures that provide historical climate analyses, monitoring of current climate conditions, and an array of forecasts tailored to various uses for researchers and decision-makers. IRI’s Enhancing National Climate Services initiative (ENACTS) is a unique, multi-faceted initiative designed to bring climate knowledge into national decision-making by improving the availability, access, and use of climate information. Implementation of ENACTS includes developing Map Rooms with an array of application-specific information products that use quality-controlled national data combined with globally available proxies.
Examples of GFCS-IRI climate services collaboration
ENACTS Map Rooms were installed at the Department for Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) in Malawi facilitating the use of global datasets under Phase I of the Norway-funded flagship GFCS Adaptation Programme in Africa (2015-2017).
Under the new Columbia World Project, Map Rooms will provide decision-support tools to address climate risks to food and nutrition in six countries in Africa, Latin America, and South Asia: Ethiopia, Senegal, Colombia, Guatemala, Bangladesh and Viet Nam.
Contribution of NFCS to the global development agenda
The goal of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels is integral to economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development (2030 Agenda, 2015). Climate services create added value for future progress in this area. NFCS illustrate the critical importance of climate information in scaling up climate adaptation. It also facilitates multisectoral coordination to devise measures based on specific domestic circumstances and capabilities and relevant scientific data.
NFCS contribute to the implementation of the Paris Agreement that calls for science-based research and systematic observations (Article 7.7(c)). In supporting the implementation of the Paris Agreement, NFCS complement National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) in medium- and long-term adaptation to climate impacts.
The Paris Agreement (Article 4, paragraph 2) requires each Party to prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that it intends to achieve. An NFCS supports countries in meeting this requirement by ensuring delivery of multisectoral climate information and services to policy-makers.
Increasingly more countries see the benefits of replicating the National Framework for Climate Services mechanism in their national contexts. In Africa, eight countries have fully established an NFCS and a further seven countries are at different stages of putting in place an NFCS (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Created using GFCS data, publication WMO-No. 1206 (2018), and https://mapchart.net/africa.html