Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum- February 28th Arusha Tanzania

Climate scientists, experts and stakeholders meet in Arusha on February 28th 2011, for the 27th session of the Climate Outlook Forum in the Greater Horn of Africa(GHACOF27).

The meeting organized by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) will take place at the Snowcrest Hotel in Arusha Tanzania.

The forum is the latest in a series of meetings organized since 1997 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in collaboration with National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), regional as well as international climate centres. Several partners including universities, NGOs and others partners have been involved in an innovative process known as the regional climate outlook forums (RCOFs) in many parts of the world aimed at providing consensus early warning seasonal climate information for reducing climate-related risks in support of sustainable development efforts of the specific regions of the world

RCOF process involves bringing together national, regional and international climate experts, on an operational basis, to produce regional climate outlooks based on input from NMHSs, regional institutions, Regional Climate Centres (RCCs) and international climate institutions.

This is done to catalyze linkages amongst meteorologists, sector specific users, governments, NGOs, universities, among others. By doing so, the forums ensure consistency in the access to and interpretation of climate information. Through interaction with sectoral users, extension agencies and policy makers, RCOFs assess the likely implications of the climate outlooks on the most pertinent socio-economic sectors in the given region and explore the ways in which these outlooks could be made useful. The users also recommend strategies for reducing potential risks associated with the RCOF consensus climate outlooks.

RCOFs have facilitated regional cooperation and networking, and have effectively demonstrated the immense mutual benefits of sharing of climate information and experience. Close interaction between the providers and users of climate information and predictions has enhanced feedback from the users to climate scientists, and has catalyzed the development of user specific products.

This February the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), participating NMHSs, and WMO in collaboration with other partners are organizing the Twenty Seventh Climate Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa (GHACOF27) to be held at the Snowcrest Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania on 28th February 2011.

The forum will be held within the framework of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) regional strategy for mainstreaming climate information in key socio-economic sectors for disaster risk reduction and sustainable development. The forum is expected to bring together scientists involved in seasonal climate prediction from the region and renowned climate centres worldwide as well as users from various sectors and decision-makers. Due to the severe impacts on several socio-economic sectors in the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) region associated with the prevailing La Nina event and various regional climate extremes.
The theme of the forum will be “Optimizing the use of the Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs) in building disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation capacity for sustainable development in the Greater Horn of Africa”.

OBJECTIVES
The main objective of the forum is to develop regional consensus climate outlook for the March to May 2011 rainfall season. It will also provide a regional interaction platform for the climate scientists and various users of climate early warning advisories. Further, the forum will review lessons / experiences from the use of the products provided at the Twenty Sixth Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF26) held in Kisumu, Kenya from 2 to 3 September 2010.

Several users’ specific workshops will be held alongside the forum to discuss the potential impacts of the regional consensus climate outlook for the March to May 2011 rainfall season and formulate mitigation strategies for various socio-economic sectors.

CO-OPERATING INSTITUTIONS AND ICPAC PARTNERS
The cooperating Institutions include Institut Géographique du Burundi; Météorologie Nationale de Djibouti; Eritrea Meteorological Service; National Meteorological Services Agency of Ethiopia; Kenya Meteorological Department; Rwanda Meteorological Services; Somalia Meteorological Services; Sudan Meteorological Authority; Tanzania Meteorological Agency; Uganda Meteorological Agency; IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC); Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA); World Meteorological Organization (WMO); USAID/OFDA; UK Met Office/Hadley Centre; and FEWS-NET among others.

PARTICIPANTS
Participants will include climate scientists from the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), universities, research institutions and regional and international organizations engaged in climate modeling, prediction and applications for the region. The users of climate information and prediction products from various socio-economic sectors such as Agriculture, Food security, Water resources, Hydropower generation, Health and Conflict prevention among others will also participate. Various regional and international Governmental and Non-Governmental organizations and the donor community will also be present.

WORKING LANGUAGE
English will be the working the language for the forum.

PARTICIPATION SPONSORSHIP

Participating Organizations are expected to sponsor their nominees.