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28-05-2019, ADDIS ABABA (Ethiopia): The Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy of Ethiopia, H.E. Dr. Seleshi Bekele, yesterday inaugurated the 52nd Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF 52) organized by the Climate Predictions and Applications Centre (ICPAC) of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Addis Ababa.

The GHACOF is convened every four months in order to formulate a consensus regional climate outlook for the June to September 2019 rainfall season over the Greater Horn of Africa region which covers Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

It brings together all eleven countries national meteorological agencies, disaster risks management agencies, and partner organizations dealing in climate and weather forecasts matters. GHACOF 52 comes at a time where the region has been facing a drought situation.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Dr. Bekele observed ‘an increasing trend in frequency, intensity and severity of droughts and floods causing loss of thousands of lives and property in the Greater Horn of Africa’. ‘The sectors affected by the climate variability include agriculture and food security, water resources, disaster management, energy, tourism and health’, he added.

Dr. Bekele recalled that June to September was ‘the main rainy season for the northern sector of ICPAC region of responsibility’. According to the Minister, ‘getting a prior knowledge of the seasonal climate would be a pre-requisite step for the policy makers, planners and disaster risk managers in order to design short and medium term social and economic strategies’.

As for the Director of ICPAC, Dr. Guleid Artan, ‘the just concluding raining season in the equatorial sector of the region the March to May (MAM) 2019 seasonal rainfall has been delayed over eastern sector of the region’. He further predicted ‘depressed rainfall conditions are likely to continue over the coming June – September 2019 season in most parts of the GHA region’.

The Geneva-based Director of Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Mr. Maxx Dilley, also took the floor to highlight the fact that GHACOF was ‘still thriving after 52 seasons’ and was ‘a testimony to the commitment and capacity of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in the region, the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre, and […] the stakeholders who have contributed to this continuity and continuing success’.

The forum was mainly supported by the European Union funded projects through the African Development Bank and World Bank. Additional support was from the WISER Support to ICPAC Project funded by DFID, the African SWIFT programme/University of Leeds, and SHEAR ForPAc project.

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