WMO’s First State of Climate Services Report Focuses on Agriculture and Food Security
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The report was produced under the auspices of the Global Framework for Climate Services partnership, and aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of what is needed to enhance access to climate information and services for climate-resilient development and adaptation action.

Officially launched at the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference, the report highlights progress, opportunities and challenges in rolling out climate services such as seasonal forecasts, drought advisories and fire danger indices.

With an estimated 80% of the world’s food insecure living in degraded environments exposed to recurrent extreme events, the 2019 ‘State of Climate Services: Food and Agriculture’ report explores how to support agriculture in the face of climate variability and change. Produced by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and partners, the report aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of what is needed to enhance access to climate information and services for climate-resilient development and adaptation action.

The report was officially launched at the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain, and highlights progress, opportunities and challenges in rolling out climate services such as seasonal forecasts, drought advisories and fire danger indices. Building on diverse case studies, the report concludes that climate information and associated services have “demonstrably led to improved agricultural and food security outcomes,” with the overall cost-benefit ratio of investments estimated as “one to 10.”

A specific example highlighted in the publication is India’s Operational Agromet Advisory Services, which is credited with helping to decrease overall cultivation costs by up to 25%, with added net returns to farmers of up to 83% and economic benefits of more than USD 7.5 billion per year. Other examples discussed in the report include: a fire danger index map from Cuba’s National Hydrological and Meteorological Service (NMHS) that assists farmers and foresters in deciding whether to make planned burns; the European Commission’s Relative Index of Pasture Productivity that helps farmers determine where their livestock should be moved or if they need supplemental feed; and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (IGAD-ICPAC) in eastern Africa, which provides forecasts on seasonal rains onset anomalies in relation to the long-term average, enabling farmers and livestock producers to make decisions on the most suitable crops and planting times, as well as when to move livestock and utilize water reserves.

Up to USD 2 billion in additional investment is needed to deliver timely, reliable climate, weather and water information and services for policy and investment decisions.

At the global level, the report cites data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) indicating that climate variability is a key contributor to low crop yields, accounting for an estimated 5-10% of national agricultural production losses, and the continued rise in the numbers of undernourished people. Despite a steady rise in investments over the past decade, with an estimated USD 3 billion currently invested in nearly 200 climate services and early warning systems projects supported by diverse climate funds, the report emphasizes that up to USD 2 billion in additional investment is needed to strengthen NMHSs and other national institutions to deliver timely, reliable climate, weather and water information and services relevant for policy and investment decisions. It further notes that Africa and small island developing States (SIDS) face the largest capacity gaps, especially with regard to the density of the observing network and reporting frequency of observations essential for weather and climate forecasts and services.

The report concludes with recommendations addressing six major strategic areas: operationalizing, scaling up and supporting by adequate financing climate services with proven demonstrated benefits for adaptation in the agricultural sector; systematic observations; the urgency of action for SIDS and Africa; addressing the “last mile” barrier; enhanced climate science basis for priority climate actions; and systematic monitoring and evaluation of socioeconomic benefits associated with climate services. Some key follow up actions listed include the need to: make the current ad hoc and piecemeal investments more focused and holistic; use available resources more efficiently to strengthen the global-regional-national operational hydrometeorogical system that supports country-level service delivery more systematically; ensure that climate services address “last mile” barriers to reach farmers on the ground; and improve methodologies to estimate and document the socioeconomic benefits of investments and resulting services.

The publication was produced under the auspices of the WMO-led Global Framework for Climate Services, in partnership with the Adaptation Fund, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), FAO, the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the World Bank, and the World Food Programme (WFP). [Publication: 2019 State of Climate Services: Agriculture and Food Security] [Publication Landing Page] [WMO Press Release]  [GEF Press Release]


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