United for weather, water, and climate services in East and Southern Africa

The adoption of National Frameworks for Weather, Water, and Climate Services (NFWWCS) are a critical step in promoting robust climate services.  

As climate change increasingly impacts our world, the need for reliable climate information services (CIS) becomes paramount.

In Africa, where vulnerable sectors and communities bear the brunt of climate shifts, a significant step towards climate resilience has been taken through the adoption of the National Framework for Weather, Water, and Climate Services (NFWWCS).

Despite the growing importance of CIS, its availability and utilization in many African countries remains inadequate.

NFWWCS offer platforms to collaborate between national institutions and stakeholders, ultimately. 

There has been a surge in political and institutional support for NFWWCS, which function as a multi-stakeholder interface, empowering the development and delivery of climate services at national and local levels. 

Recognizing the importance of the framework, Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) partnered with African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), the World Meteorological Organization Regional Office Africa (WMO-RoA), and the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) for two consultative learning workshops, hosted by Uganda National Meteorology Agency (UEMI) and the South African Weather Service (SAWS).

These workshops have proven invaluable platforms for exploring the challenges of developing and delivering climate services, while sharing experience and best practices.

Countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa have made substantial progress in NFWWCS, and so shared insights and technical guidance, enriching the understanding of the framework’s guidelines and alignment with the national strategies. 

For countries like Botswana, Burundi, Djibouti, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, Uganda, and Zambia, NFWWCS remain underdeveloped due to limited resources and awareness among stakeholders.

So these workshops offer crucial technical support, fostering knowledge exchange and building capacity for NFWWCS development.

At the request of countries at earlier stages of developing NFWWCS, UEMI hosted the first consultation for the IGAD region in Kampala, with AICCRA facilitation support. 

So the workshop offered East African countries such as Burundi, Djibouti and Uganda a valuable opportunity to connect with one another and with the AICCRA experience in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Through this exchange of insights, these IGAD member states are poised to embark on their NFWWCS journey with enhanced momentum.

Experience sharing workshop Kampala, Uganda for the co-development of NFWWCS in East African countries.

The first three steps towards NFWWCS

The workshop primarily focused on the challenges of implementing NFWWCS, best practices and the lessons learned during the first three steps of a typical journey towards implementation of NFWWCS.

Conforming to the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) step-by-step guideline, the first step involves a comprehensive assessment of existing capacities and the establishment of baselines.

This step entails an insightful analysis of prevailing user interface platforms, climate services, and existing gaps.

The journey continues with the second step, a concerted effort to organize a national stakeholder consultation workshop to secure consensus on the pressing necessity for enhanced climate services. 

With the outcomes of this national consultation, a third step advances, which is the shaping of a national strategic plan which is supported by a blueprint for action.

This meticulous bluprint should stipulate the investment needed, and a timeline for the implementation of NFWWCS. 

A consultative workshop on the co-development of the National Framework for Weather, Water and Climate Services (NFWWCS) in Southern Africa took place in Cape Town, South Africa.

Taking national frameworks for climate services forward

A similar Southern Africa forum held in Cape Town, South Africa enabled national meteorological and hydrological service experts to harness exemplary practices and innovative ideas, expediting the development and execution of the NFWWCS within their national context.

These additional workshops extended an opportunity to Southern African countries in the early stages of implementation - Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Through learning from the experiences of Ethiopia and South Africa, these countries are able to kickstart their NFWWCS journeys.

But these workshops are just the beginning.

Successfully implementing the NFWWCS requires consistent technical and financial resources from diverse stakeholders.

The NFWWCS steers policy-level decisions that enable last-mile users like smallholder farmers to benefit from more robust climate information services, ensuring they benefit from decision-support tools that are the priority of the framework.


Brook Tesfaye Makonnen - Communications and Knowledge Management Lead for Ethiopia & East and Southern Africa