WRITTEN BY:Judith Akolo -KCB Channel/NECJOGHA

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has called on the government to make Kenya Meteorological Department a semi-autonomous government agency.

In his address during the release of the March to May long rains seasonal forecast, the World Meteorological Organisation Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas said that transforming KMD into a Semi-Autonomous Government Agency, with a legal framework will ensure efficient service delivery to the public as well as in the region as mandated by WMO.

“WMO is encouraging National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to transform into semi-autonomous agencies to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their work by tapping into additional resources,” said Prof. Taalas.

Prof. Taalas called on Kenya to ratify the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) Constitution as by doing this, Kenya and other “African States stand to benefit more directly from services provided by NMSs,” he said.

AMCOMET has developed the African Strategy on Meteorology (Weather and Climate Services) which envisages to increase recognition of National Meteorological Services (NMSs) and their key role in improving risk management for the protection of life and property, increase safety on land, water and in the air as well as enhance quality of life.

Environment Principal Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo warned that Climate change is exacerbating sustainable development challenges by increasing the frequency and severity of extreme events including drought and floods.

The PS noted that a well-functioning climate service has the potential to inform a range of both short-term and long-term decisions, contributing to the resilience of governments, organizations and individuals to current climate variability while also preparing for an uncertain future.

He disclosed that the Ministry of Environment has formulated the draft Meteorology Policy and Bill 2021 which are awaiting Cabinet and Parliamentary approval. “The Bill, if passed into an Act of Parliament, will transform the KMD into a Semi-Autonomy Government Agency (SAGA).

This will enhance the Department’s support to climate adaptation measures in all socio-economic sectors at both national and county levels, as envisaged in the Kenya’s climate change Act of 2016,” said Dr. Kiptoo.

The Environment PS called for the need for co-production of seasonal weather forecast as in so doing the climate scientists are able to address the needs of the users of climate information. “to co-design, co-produce and appropriate communication will help to ensure that climate services are effectively used for decision-making in climate-sensitive socio-economic sectors,’ said Dr. Kiptoo and added, “It is also intended to lead to meaningful interaction among the producers and users of climate information at national level.

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