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Project achievements

SADC Cooperation Project Achievements

The development objective of the project was to strengthen the National Meteorological Services in the region to ensure that weather and climate services operate at the highest possible level so that they are able to meet the needs of all sectors of the economies of the SADC countries.

Recognising that the individual member countries of SADC were at different levels in their ability to carry out meteorological activities, the immediate objectives included:

  • making the National Meteorological services self-sufficient in well-trained manpower
  • assisting the NMSs to upgrade and/or strengthen their data-processing and archiving facilities, maintenance capabilities, national data collection capabilities and existing observational networks.
The evaluation of the project carried out in 1993 showed that it had been successfully implemented. Under the manpower development programme, seventy-one fellowships were awarded in various specialised areas in meteorology. In addition, three in-country training programmes were carried out for Class III personnel in Angola, for Class II personnel in Zimbabwe and for Class I personnel in Mozambique. There is no doubt that the project made a substantial contribution to the development of a core of well-trained scientific and technical experts in various specialised areas of meteorology.

One of the primary objectives of the project was to upgrade the operational capabilities of the National Meteorological Services in the region in order to ensure their capability to provide the relevant meteorological data and products necessary for the development of the economies of the SADC Member States. For this reason, the implementation of the equipment component of the project was focused on upgrading the meteorological observing networks, data collection and processing facilities, and on ensuring adequately trained staff through workshops on the maintenance of meteorological instruments and equipment.

At the regional level, the installation of an automatic Message Switching System (MSS), at the Lusaka regional Telecommunication Hub and the establishment of the Regional Maintenance Centre in Gaborone were some of the successful achievements of the project. Moreover, at both national and regional levels the international experts provided the needed knowledge and guidance in various fields. Quarterly newsletters were published by the FMI in 1991 - 1993 on the project activities.

The impact of the strengthened meteorological services on the socio-economic development of individual countries is already in evidence. Computerisation of data processing has enabled meteorological services to respond in a timely manner to requests for data and products. The project as a whole made a marked contribution to the performance of the meteorological services, particularly in the monitoring of drought at national and regional levels. The achievements and impacts at national level during 1987 ľ 1993 are presented by country.

Central America Cooperation Project Achievements

The execution of the Project was a success according to the evaluation seminar on the impact of the project held in Panama City, Panama, April 15-16, 1996. The Project increased dramatically the density of hydrological and meteorological networks in the Isthmus. Years ago, most of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services faced serious difficulties in attempts to fulfil their tasks. Difficulties arose, for instance, within the processing, storage and transmission of meteorological and hydrological data. In addition, the staff of the Services in the area needed further training.

The Services in the region have today the capacity to produce well-processed data for their users. A modern satellite-based communication system was established in the area, ensuring the timely availability of reliable data that is both accessible and exchangeable. The staff have received adequate training for maintaining hydrological and meteorological services.

The Project has permitted Central America to play a more preponderant role in the Regional Weather Watch of the WMO Global Observing System. The new strategic data for weather forecasts were collected from the stations in Cocoĺs Island in the Pacific off Costa Rica, Half Moon Caye and Hunting Caye on the coast of Belize, and Puerto Cabezas on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. The weather alert system was improved. The amount of the available data for the study of climate change has been increased and its quality has been enhanced.

The network of basic stations was rehabilitated through the application of modern and automated measurement facilities and coupled with the efficient national data collection and exchange system. The upper-air station network was rehabilitated through the installation of new systems in San Jose, Costa Rica and Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua. Agrometeorological and marine meteorological observation stations were established. Telecommunication facilities were enhanced through the provision of the satellite based telecommunication system, which permits the rapid exchange of observational information within the WWW. A new data management system was established, permitting the storage of old information. Various training programmes were carried out. The preconditions of the development of hydrological and meteorological applications were created.

The influence of the Executive Secretariat of the CRRH has increased in the region in the field of water and climate. The CRRH is participating actively in the activities developed in the region by the Central American Integration System (SICA). In connection of the Central American Commission of Environment and Development (CCAD) the CRRH is preparing studies on climate change, water resources, agriculture and sea level change. Universities and governmental and non-governmental organisations are participating in these studies. As the Central American Focal Point for the Inter American Dialogue on Water Management and the Inter-American Water Resources Network the CRRH will assist the Organization of the American States (OAS) in the coordination of the activities on water resources generated in the region. All in all, one of the main contributions of the Project has been the stimulation of governmentsĺ interest in the role of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in the socio-economic development of the Isthmus. As a result, the governments have offered the Services the support required in the implementation of the Project.

The evaluation seminar on the impact of the Project was held in Panama City, Panama on April 15-16, 1996. The seminar consisted of the Directors of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, the representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Planning, Finance, Energy, Science, Technology and/or Transportation of the countries in the Central American Isthmus and Finland as well as the representatives of CRRH, WMO and FMI. The achievements of the National Meteorological Services of each country presented at the seminar are reflected on pages 20 - 27.

The improved Natural Disaster Preparedness in the Central American Isthmus was analyzed during the XXX Ordinary Meeting of the CRRH held in San JosÚ, Costa Rica, on September 23-27, 1996. Hurricane Cesar, which formed in the southeastern Caribbean affected Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala while crossing the Central American Isthmus on July 28, 1996. The meeting noted that the meteorological and hydrological prevention process during Cesar in July 1996 was much better than in October 1988 with hurricane Joan, whose trajectory was very similar to that of Cesar:

  • In 1988 the international communication of the National Meteorological Services was slow (75 baud) and the national communication in bad shape. In some countries there were virtually no meteorologists or technicians. The meteorological and climatological data bank was inactive in most countries. Meteorological observation networks were poor in 50% of the region. Requesting special meteorological information was very difficult. The National Meteorological Services had difficulties in advising the authorities and population.
  • In 1996 the international communication of the National Meteorological Services was sufficient (9600 baud) and the national communication could be carried out by HF-radio, fax and telephone connections. In all countries there were enough meteorologists and technicians. The meteorological and climatological data bank was in very active use in all countries. The coverage of meteorological observation networks was acceptable for the region. Requesting special meteorological information was easy through the new satellite-based telecommunication systems of the countries. The National Meteorological Services could better prepare the authorities, local emergency committees and people.
Additional financial support has been allocated from the Finnish development cooperation funds for 1999 to complete the consolidation programmes of technology transfer, based on the coordinated requests of the countries presented at the XXXI meeting of the CRRH in 1997.
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