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Cooperation Projects
in Africa
SADC countries

Role of Meteorology

The role of meteorology in social and economic development is today more and more recognised and appreciated. The Governments of the South African Development Cooperation Conference (SADCC) countries have, since their independence, supported the development of meteorology in their countries.

During the early 1980s , however, it was realised that, although the SADC Governments had been making efforts individually to strengthen their National Meteorological Services (NMSs) through both internal and external sources of funding, the level of support had, in general, not been sufficient to maintain adequate operational standards and to keep pace with international developments in meteorology. Recognising the increasing importance of meteorology in the development of their economies, the SADC Governments therefore sought assistance to strengthen meteorology in the region. The adoption of meteorology as a programme of the Southern Africa Transport and Communication Commission (SATCC) was seen as a viable option to attract capital investment in the development of this field through cooperation with external partners.

The region had, during the early 80s, also been affected by devastating droughts and floods, which emphasised the importance of meteorology for food security and social well-being, and, at the same time, demonstrated the urgent need for stronger regional collaboration in this area. Responding to the drought situation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) assisted the SADC countries in establishing a regional project, ôCrop monitoring and early warning system for food securityö, which was designed to enable them to develop strategies that would ensure food availability at all times. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and WMO prepared and implemented another project, ôAssistance to drought-stricken eastern and southern African countries in the fields of agrometeorology and hydrologyö, the objective of which was to develop drought forecasting and monitoring capabilities. In addition the NMSs also benefited from assistance provided under the WMOĺs Voluntary Cooperation Programme (VCP), the UNDP country projects as well as from bilateral arrangements. Governments were however, aware that achievements of these projects would not be sustainable without adequate support from strong NMSs.

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