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Climate watch system to tackle challenges

by South African Government News Agency
on 15 Apr 2013

The implementation of a climate watch system will assist government to tackle the challenges of climate change in a regional and coordinated manner, says Water and Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister, Rejoice Mabudafhasi.

“A climate watch system for this sub region will ensure that the necessary actions can be taken to mitigate the effects of significant climate anomalies that can cause extremes such as droughts, floods and heat-waves,” said Mabudafhasi.

Speaking at the World Meteorological Organisation workshop on Climate Monitoring, including the implementation of Climate Watch Systems in RA-I, held in Centurion on Monday, Mabudafhasi said the envisaged climate watch system can only strengthen the way in which the region has cooperated in the past.

“Weather and climate knows no boundaries, many examples can be mentioned where weather-related disasters in the region were addressed in a spirit of collaboration. We expect that with the knowledge of best practices in delivery, provision and evaluation of climate watches a huge difference can be made in how we work together as a region,” Mabudafhasi said.

She commended the World Meteorological Organisation and the South African Weather Service for organising the workshop, adding that they hope it will be the first steps towards a continuous assessment of climate change related risks to provide decision-making organizations such as governments with the necessary information.

Given the advances in climate monitoring and long range forecasting during the last two decades, Mabudafhasi stressed it is now feasible for National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to issue climate watches to help reduce socio-economic vulnerability by improving preparedness procedures for adverse climatic conditions.

She also noted that while indigenous communities have over a long period of time developed adaptation strategies to cope with the large spatial and temporal variability of the southern African climate, climate change with its associated extremes will cause these to become less efficient.

The South African Government, the deputy minister said, has put various mechanisms in place to mitigate climate change, but more importantly to adapt to the consequences thereof.

“These are reflected in the various programs of different national and provincial departments, but most importantly in the National Development Plan.

“This Plan acknowledges the probable consequences of climate change to our economy and the well-being of our citizens, and calls for, amongst others, an independent climate change centre, which will serve as a repository of all climate change related information.

“This will then serve as a source for the public and private sector to make informed decisions regarding the actions required to mitigate and adapt to climate change,” Mabudafhasi said. – SAnews.gov.za

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