Friday, June 9, 2023

NiMet, UK Agency partner to help Nigeria build resilience and recovery after devastation

The United Kingdom government through the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) recently paid a working visit to the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet,  to propose and implement a research project to plug the evidence gap around effective  scientific and space-based Flood risk communication to enable efficient action by all stakeholders (technical vs no -technical, state vs non-state actors, national vs sub-national, Institution vs individuals) amongst several objectives.

According to the release by the Nigerian Metrological Agency, NImet, this was a follow up to the workshop on Flood Early Warning held last year in Nigeria by UN SPIDER with membership drawn from the National Space Research and Development Agency, NARSDA, Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, the Nigerian Hydrological Agency, NIHSA and the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA in which lack of effective risk  communication was identified as one of the critical gaps in the disaster response early warning  and disaster management, the statement said.

In her introductory remarks at the meeting in NiMet headquarters, a member of the team and the Team leader   innovation, Leone Jones, said that the United Kingdom has quite extensive programmes most of them being long term thematic programmes that are managed out of UK. 

She added that her team is in Nigeria with support to do “Specific research that responds to particular  needs or questions that are very relevant for our team’s office or for yourselves and partners across the country, so that is why we developed this programme, working with yourselves and others leading in flood risk across Nigeria on a particular piece of research”, she said. 

Leone revealed that her team would talk to different relevant agencies to make sure they are aware, and to socialize the research and get the various agencies’ input. 

“The important thing for us is that anytime that we fund research, it needs to respond  to your priorities, it needs to be something that is useful to your needs and its a known gap thing and is delivering against your priorities, that is important for us”, she stressed.

In her submission another member of the team and team lead on climate change and nature, Matinez Sokey disclosed that their portfolio is shifting and reflects the importance that FCDO is placing on climate change. 

“ So we are thinking about how we should focus our efforts more on climate. What we see is a country which is already feeling the effects of climate change in different ways and different places”, she reiterated 

Adding, Matinez further observed that some fantastic works on early warning system is going on in Nigeria  but disclosed that her team would want to know the challenges NiMet is getting from the early warning systems they set up and how it is getting to the individual communities and families or farmers who need the information, because that is what the research or work is all about.

Speaking,  Emmanuel Taiwo, the Climate and Environment adviser, who said he was impressed with the facilities at NiMet disclosed that he had the privilege to be part of the work on HydroSoS and outlook system, which he said he is glad it is being utilized in Nigeria.

The Research and innovation adviser, Segun Adetunde, reiterating the purpose of their visit,  said “ why we are here is to improve the effectiveness of flood risk communication within the country”.

He noted that FCDO can actually do something to plug the gaps that have been identified and what can be done and how the coordination mechanism can be improved that currently exist in the country in respect to flood risk prediction along the nexus of flood risk communication.

In his response,  Chief Meteorologist at NiMet,  James Ijampy explained how NiMet was able to monitor the flood last year and how the various stakeholders were alerted and subsequently with the cooperation of the various stakeholders, were able to communicate same to the communities.

“ The multi-sectoral really worked last year in terms of coming together,  monitoring and issuing forecasts”. 

He noted that the forecast should be demand-driven as some of the  information are key for adaptation.

Speaking  Oyegade Adeleke, Assistant General Manager,  Climate Services in NiMet, opined that climate change has come to stay that we can only build resilience and adapt to it.

“After a flood you see a community totally helpless. They can’t even recover, they can’t even go back to their farms. That is the gap we must try to fill in this kind of project. How do we help people to build resilience and recover after devastation?”, he queried. 

Earlier in his introductory remarks, the Director of Research and Training, Professor Effiom Oku who represented the Director-General Professor Mansur Bako Matazu , while welcoming the team, gave a brief history of NiMet, while appreciating them, he assured that NiMet will work with the team for the success of the project.

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