11 June 2013, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Addis Ababa played host to the 34th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF) and the Water Conflict Management and Cooperation Workshop, which took place on 29-31 May 2013. The Forum was organized by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) and other partners to formulate a regional climate outlook for the June to August 2013 season over the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA). The Great Horn region comprises Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The theme of the forum was “Building Resilience to Climate Related Disasters and Climate Change Adaptation in the Greater Horn of Africa.” The regional Climate Outlook Forums have been a useful process for regional consensus building for seasonal predictions and applications. The GHA is prone to extreme climate events such as droughts and floods, which have severe negative impacts on key social economic sectors in all the countries of the region.

Users from a variety of sectors such as disaster risk reduction, health, water resources, agriculture, and food security together with civil society and other Non-Governmental Organizations and development partners participate in the formulation of the potential impacts of the climate outlook for their respective sectors. This year the outlook of the June-August season indicates an increased likelihood of below-normal to near-normal rainfall and climatology over much of the GHA region. Conversely, in central parts of the northern sector of the Horn as well as in the coastal and western parts of the equatorial sector there is an increased likelihood of above-normal rainfall.

To formulate the regional forecast, experts draw input from a wide range of sources, including the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Producing Centres and various National Meteorological and Hydrological Services. These inputs are then combined into a regional outlook using probabilistic and deterministic modeling, alongside expert analysis and interpretation.

At the Forum, UNOSAT expert Roshni Dave, who is posted in Nairobi, introduced the IGAD-UNOSAT partnership project on ‘Disaster Risk Reduction Capacity Development for East Africa using Geo-spatial Technologies’. She also highlighted project activities including technical training and regional awareness raising events. The initiative is supported by the government of Norway.

The Workshop on Water Conflict Management and Cooperation took place after the Forum and focused on experiences from ongoing water cooperation programmes. Experts also discussed the idea of skills building training events on managing and transforming conflict. This workshop was organized within the framework of the UN International Year for Water Cooperation 2013.

Images: Top, a moment of the Forum held in Addis Ababa. Bottom, Roshni Dave (right) with with experts from IGAD-CEWARN and IGAD-ICPAC, with whom UNOSAT collaborates to support East African countries.