Experience learning visit on existing early warning system in Kenya
It is expected that as climate change unfolds in Benin, the variability of the frequency and intensity of climate related shocks will increase, thereby necessitating various socio- economic sectors to adapt. Benin’s vulnerability to weather risks was demonstrated in 2010 when Benin suffered more than USD 262m in losses to various socio-economic sectors (e.g., agriculture, commerce, and infrastructure) due to flooding. Similarly, Benin’s coastal region, home to over 3 million inhabitants and one of West and Central Africa’s largest trading markets has been victim to coastal encroachment by as much as 16 meters per year causing major impacts on fishing, port industries and tourism.
In a developing country such as Benin, climate change impacts are exacerbated by limited outreach mechanisms to local levels and a country dependence on subsistence agriculture. For Benin, improving Climate Information (CI) collection and developing an Early Warning System (EWS) is an effective way to build the general population’s weather / climate risk awareness so that communities (particularly rain-fed farmers) can prepare accordingly. However, currently, an early warning system for multi-risk forecasting (e.g. coastal surge and flooding) as well as the capacities to produce and disseminate weather/climate information does not exist in Benin.
This solution consisted of a study mission to Kenya from 24 to 29 March 2014. The Center for Climate Prediction and Application (ICPAC) of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) based in Kenya has an EWS which covers all East Africa countries. The ICPAC is also in contact with all other national and regional institutions based in Kenya involved in early warning.
The main objective of the mission was to visit and learn about the functioning and the different components of early warning systems in Kenya. Specifically, the mission involved:
- Acquiring knowledge about various technical components (equipment, technologies and IT infrastructures) of the EWS (from the data acquisition and transmission phase, to the production-dissemination phase of the alert, via the data processing and forecasting phase);
- Meeting the main structures involved in the prevention of hydro-climatic risks in order to understand the organizational model and the institutional functioning of EWS in Kenya and in East Africa;
- Learning about the limits and the level of security offered by the existing devices in the prevention of hydro-climatic risks;
- Getting to know the administrative, legal and financial aspects of early warning activity on hydro-climatic risks in Kenya and East Africa under the leadership of IGAD; as well as aspects relating to the integration of the private sector.
The experience acquired has made it possible to strengthen the capacities of the national structures involved in the implementation of the Early Warning System (EWS). A transient EWS for flood management was set up in 2014. The national coverage for climate / weather monitoring has improved by 26% from 30% to 56%. The periodicity of collecting and transmitting station data has improved from a previously (challenging) monthly basis to a daily one.
Supported by: UNDP
Implemented by: Direction Générale de l’Eau, Institut National de l’Eau, Agence Nationale de la Météorologie ou Météo-Bénin, Institut des Recherches Halieutiques et Océanologiques du Bénin (IRHOB)
Centre de prévision climatique et d’applications de l’IGAD, Autorité Intergouvernementale pour le Développement, Bureau sous-régional de l’OMM pour l’Afrique Centrale et Australe, Autorité nationale de gestion de la sécheresse, Centre régional de cartographie des ressources pour le développement, Département de la Météorologie du Kenya et Direction des Ressources en Eau au Ministère de l’Environnement, de l’Eau et des Ressources Naturelles