UNDP Resident Representative REMARKS at the celebration of the World Meteorological

March 22, 2019

Director General of Rwanda Meteorology Agency,

Colleagues from the One UN Family,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Muraho Mwese!

It is a great pleasure and honor for me to be here with you today at this important gathering to mark the World Meteorological Day 2019 and celebrate the fifth anniversary of the establishment of Rwanda Meteorology Agency as an autonomous institution.

This year’s theme is “the Sun, the Earth, and the Weather.” This theme particularly reminds us the role we have to play to reduce the increasing extreme weather events that the world is experiencing these days: from floods and heavy rains to thunderstorms, lightning and droughts. In Rwanda, over a decade, natural disasters have been responsible for hundreds of deaths and injuries, crops failure as well as thousands of infrastructure losses.

We are gratitude to Meteo Rwanda, represented today by the Director General, Aimable Gahigi, for the valuable work in early warning and disaster risk reduction. Over the past several years, the institution has been successfully providing weather and climate information services for the safety of life and property, and socio-economic development of this country.  

We are happy that since the establishment of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs in 2010 which has been changed to the Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA) in October 2018, UNDP joined Meteo Rwanda and MINEMA in the journey to enhance the national and local capacity in Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Risk Management. Between 210 and 2018, UNDP support was mainly through MINEMA with focus on:

  • The development of a strong institutional and legal framework (establishment of National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR), District Disaster Management Committees (DDMCs), Sector Disaster Management Committees (SDMCs), Disaster Management Law, Disaster Management Policy, Disaster Management Plan, National Recovery Strategy, Contingency plans, etc.),
  • The mainstreaming of DRR in Annual Action Plans (AAPs) and policies of sectorial Ministries (Infrastructure, Agriculture, Environment, Education, ICT, Youth Employment and Productivity, housing and settlement, Urbanization, Transport, Water and sanitation, Health, Education), and in 28 District Development Plans (DDPs)
  • The development of a comprehensive National Risk Atlas through a comprehensive risk assessment aimed at providing guidance to the GoR in national development planning and policy-making through evidence-based risk information
  • The development of a national disaster communication system aimed at providing timely and more effective and appropriate response actions to disaster or emergency situations in different parts of the country.

The working partnership between UNDP and Meteo Rwanda started in 2017 and was established around a small project on Climate Early Warning and Recovery in Rwanda, using Internet of Things. The project helped to develop and test an application for volunteer observers to directly report weather observations to the system, a system that allows agronomists to add advises to farmers to weather information and farmers to access the information through quick codes (USSD: Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) and an application programming interface that allows access to weather data from different systems.

In January this year, building on the achievements over the last 8 years; UNDP, Meteo Rwanda and MINEMA launched a 5-year programme to strength the National and Local Disaster Risk Management Capacity and Resilience and to enhance Preparedness and Early Warning System in Rwanda.

As UNDP Rwanda, we are highly committed to continue doing our best to support Meteo Rwanda to realize the mission of “providing accurate, timely weather and climate information and products for the general welfare of the peoples of Rwanda”. Yesterday, we held the Local Project Appraisal Committee (LPAC)  meeting that validated a new UNDP-FAO Joint Programme with Meteo Rwanda, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), and the Ministry of Environment. This new project aims at enhancing Climate Resilient and Integrated Agriculture in Disaster Prone Areas of Rwanda. We expect the project to help Meteo Rwanda to improve weather forecasting for proper agricultural planning, disaster risk management, early warning and for fast response to disasters.

Director General, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to end my speech by reaffirming the commitment of UNDP to support Meteo Rwanda to increase the institutional contribution to the safety and wellbeing of the people of Rwanda.

I wish you all a happy World Meteorological Day!