Frequent droughts, variable rainfall, combined with livestock and agriculture dependency make Sudan one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change. The agricultural sector contributes with 40 percent of the gross domestic product.
The Sudan Meteorological Authority works to better understand and monitor climate and weather phenomena to enable stakeholders to make informed decisions on how to strengthen resilience in Sudan. It provides weather forecasts and develop climate products and services.
NORCAP collaborates with the Sudan Meteorological Authority to improve long-term forecasting, early warning systems for extreme weather and make sure that information reaches local communities, like farmers and fisherfolk.
“When I arrived, the early warning system was based on an old weather forecasting model that had not been updated for some time,” says Sinclair Chinyoka, a NORCAP climate modeller who has worked with the meteorological authority for the past year.
Sinclair assessed the warning system and mapped out ways to improve it. He then provided training to 23 colleagues in the agency to make sure they could keep the system updated regularly.
Collaborating with affected communities
Faith Chivava, a NORCAP climate services development expert, also works with the Sudan Meteorological Authority. Her task is to bring together community members, scientists and political decision makers to discuss needs, share experiences and provide input.
“This is important to ensure that the forecasts are produced and communicated in an understandable way,” says Faith. “Not just to the scientists at the authority, but to the general population who rely on weather information for their day to day lives, and to those responsible for setting policies to help adapt to, and mitigate the impacts of climate change.”
Over the past year, Faith and Sinclair have worked with the agency to set up a platform to enhance participation and dialogue between users and organisations that are working with climate services.
“NORCAP’s support to the Sudan Meteorological Authority is appreciated,” says Mrs Hanan Rabah, the Sudan Meteorological Authority General Director and Permanent Representative for the World Meteorological Organisation in Sudan. “The experts have helped us to strengthen our visibility. With the continued support from NORCAP we are better placed to train our staff to ensure that early warning reaches all parts of our society and engaging with more partners and communities.”
Climate adaptation at COP
This month, the high-level UN Climate Change Conference takes place in Egypt (COP27). Faith hopes that the discussions at the conference conclude in increased investment in climate adaptation work, including support to ensure dialogue between the users and producers of climate and weather information.
“East Africa, including Sudan, is facing the harshest consequences of climate change. We need climate adaptation services urgently, especially in vulnerable communities,” says Faith. “Engaging with communities to better understand their challenges and needs is key to make early warning available to all.”
NORCAP currently collaborates with national meteorological authorities in four countries: Sudan, Niger, Burkina Faso and Senegal.