Why we need to save Africa’s historical climate data

14 Oct 2015

Climate archives in Gambia. Photo: UNDP.
Climate data is the lifeblood of any early warning system and the cornerstone for any resilience building effort. It not only allows us to monitor adverse impacts across development sectors, populations and ecosystems, but also helps countries prepare for and adapt to the realities of climate change and protect national development gains and goals. Climate data generally falls into two categories: historical data and data from recent and current observations. While most people understand the importance of current and recent climate data, fewer appreciate the equal importance of historical climate data. Historical data allows us to establish long-term trends, which in turn help us understand and better plan for future changes in climate. Historical climate data records help us develop climate models, satellite-based instruments and seasonal forecasts, as well as provide foundational data for adaptation studies at local, national and regional scales. For example: Climate models are mathematical representations of the interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, ice and the sun. Once a climate model is developed, it has to be tested to find out if it works. And since we can’t wait for 30 years to see if a model is any good or not, the models have to … Read more

A lifetime opportunity to bid fairwell to poverty

29 Sep 2015

UNDP Zimbabwe
Today marks a historic moment as world leaders adopted the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs constitute a vision to put people and our planet on a sustainable path by 2030. These goals will form the bedrock of a new development agenda designed to set the world on a course of action to end poverty, transform lives and protect the planet. In general, enormous progress has been made under the MDGs, showing the value of a unifying agenda underpinned by goals and targets. Yet despite the progress, the indignity of hunger and poverty remains as reality for over 800 million people. I have learned, from over 30 years of work in humanitarian and development spheres as well as with the United Nations, that setting goals and targets works. Here in Zimbabwe, the MDGs were implemented during a difficult economic period. Zimbabwe has recorded progress in halting and reducing HIV prevalence, which fell from 29.6 percent in 1998 to 14 percent in 2014; increase in anti-retroviral therapy coverage for adults as well as increased coverage of prevention of mother-to-child transmission. With Government engagement and support from our specialised agencies such as WHO, UNFPA and UNICEF as well as with generous … Read more