By Dipo Olowookere
More than 15 climate scientists from African Regional Climate Centres (RCCs) and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) from July 10-11, 2018, met to review a study report on the application of WMO resolution 40 on climate data sharing standards and protocols in Africa.
The study and expert group meeting (EGM) were facilitated by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) with the support of the Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) programme.
The objectives of the data sharing study were to review the application of the resolution; identify best practices and success stories; highlight barriers to data sharing; and provide recommendations to promote use of standards to support CIS uptake in the African continent.
According to WMO resolution 40, all members (primarily NMHSs) shall provide, on a free and unrestricted basis, essential data and products required to describe and accurately forecast weather and climate, necessary for the provision of services for the protection of life and property. Free and unrestricted in this case means non‐discriminatory and without charge. Without charge in turn means data and products themselves should not be charged for, and charges should be limited to only the cost of reproduction and delivery.
Further, resolution 40 stipulates that NMHSs can categorize additional data, which is subject to other conditions, including possibility to level charges.
“This is one of the most important initiatives to systematically assess the state of meteorological data sharing in Africa” said Mr Stephen Njoroge, a WMO consultant based in Nairobi, in reference to the study and EGM event.
At the end of the two days of rich and insightful discourse on data sharing practices, experiences, best practices, barriers and gaps, participants formulated a set of recommendations for strengthening climate data sharing in the continent. A key recommendation was that RCCs should lead the crafting of a climate data sharing memorandum among countries in their purview.
In her closing remarks, Mariane Diop-Kane, the Republic of Senegal Meteorological director, commended the progress made at the EGM. She urged participants to ensure that the meeting recommendations are acted upon and implemented to enhance climate services in the continent.
On behalf of ACPC, Mr Frank Rutabingwa, WISER Pan-Africa coordinator, echoed the importance of increased climate data collaboration among countries as weather knows no borders. He thanked participants for sparing time to contribute their intellectual skills.
The outcomes will be presented to Regional Economic Communities (RECs) for buy-in by sub-regional Meteorological directors, forwarded to the AMCOMET bureau in September and also retailed to the AMCOMET user forum in February 2019.
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