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WMO Secretary-General Addresses Gambia Climate Change Forum

WMO Statement at the Gambia Climate Change Forum 7 October 2008: Addressing the Gambia Climate Change Forum,

taking place in Kololi, the Gambia, from 6-7 October 2008, the

Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Michel

Jarraud, stated that the potential impacts of climate variability and change on

water resources demand special attention, particularly in Africa.

He added that

changes in the climate will signify increased risks to agricultural

productivity and food security in West African economies, which are highly

dependent on agriculture. He recommended adopting a comprehensive adaptation

strategy across a wide range of agro-ecosystems to assist West African planners

and local communities in dealing more effectively with the projected impacts of

climate variability and change. Jarraud also called for the empowerment of all

vulnerable countries, particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small

Island Developing States (SIDS), to use early warning systems appropriately

within their natural disaster risk reduction activities. He highlighted that

through its own programmes and those shared with other organizations, the WMO

has been the main provider of the scientific and technical information

underpinning the scientific assessments currently available. He explained that

the Organization's vision underscores the need to advance rapidly both in the

mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and the adaptation to the local effects of

climate change.

Jarraud stressed that the costs of coping with a changing

climate, particularly in developing countries, will be more manageable if

appropriate actions are undertaken as soon as possible and monitored

continuously thereafter, on the basis of trustworthy observations and

authoritative scientific research. He indicated the WMO's commitment to the

UNFCCC process, its principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and

capabilities, and the objective for a post-2012 framework signaled by the Bali

Action Plan and Road Map. [The Statement]