Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum Highlights Geospatial Technology for DRR

ICPAC23 August 2013: The 35th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF 35), ‘Building Resilience to Climate-Related Risks' highlighted the role of climate outlook forums in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and preparedness, and underscored the importance of early warning systems in promoting regional development and security. The Forum also illustrated the increasing use of geospatial technology in DRR.

Forum participants discussed the region's September to December 2013 climate outlook, with a focus on identifying climate-sensitive sectors, such as agriculture, livestock and water resources. Participants also considered, inter alia, climate services in the context of food security and integrated water resources management (IWRM). In a keynote address, Abbas Gullet, Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross, highlighted how a nation-wide fundraising campaign, among other innovative solutions, contributed to overcoming challenges related to the 2011 drought in East Africa.

The UN Institute for Training and Research's (UNITAR) Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) hosted a parallel event on geospatial applications to raise awareness on the benefits of geospatial technology for DRR. The event demonstrated how geospatial information can contribute to building climate resilience across the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region, an eight-country East African organization. Participants also learned about an IGAD-UNITAR project that aims to develop regional GIS and remote sensing capacity to enhance emergency preparedness and planning.

GHACOF 35, which took place from 21-23 August 2013, in Eldoret, Kenya, brought together high-level representatives from the Kenyan Government and the East African Community (EAC), UN officials, national meteorology departments and civil society and donor representatives. It was organized by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC). [UNITAR Press Release] [GHACOF 35 Website] [IGAD Website] [ICPAC Website]