Dedicated fund for systematic weather, climate observations from smaller nations

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel November 4, 2021 06:50

Dedicated fund for systematic weather, climate observations from smaller nations


Glasgow, Nov 4 (IANS) The Systematic Observations Finance Facility (SOFF) that will address the long-standing problem of missing weather and climate observations from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDSs) was launched here during the ongoing COP26.

The SOFF will strengthen the international response to climate change by filling the data gaps that limit our understanding of the climate. These gaps affect our capacity to predict and adapt to extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and heatwaves. The SOFF can deliver tangible benefits in terms of lives saved, improved disaster management, livelihoods, biodiversity, food security, water supply and economic growth.

The announcement on the Finance Day at COP26 was made by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the three founding agencies.

“The three agencies WMO, UNDP and UNEP signed a memorandum of understanding, which legally established the SOFF as a UN multi-partner trust fund. This new finance mechanism will set the foundation to boost climate action globally and contribute to achieving one of the main goals of COP26 — to urgently scale-up climate finance to support developing countries’ adaptation and mitigation efforts,” said a global release from the WMO.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized that “Filling the large gaps in basic weather and climate data — particularly in SIDSs and LDCs — is central to effective adaptation efforts and investments.”

Indeed, “today, less than 10 per cent of required basic weather and climate observations are available from SIDSs and LDCs,” said WMO Secretary General, Petteri Taalas.

The implementation of the SOFF will provide benefits not only to the most vulnerable countries, but to all countries across the globe. Filling the data gaps will lead to better weather forecasts, early warning systems and climate information globally.

Weather and climate observations enabled by the SOFF are essential if the world community is to realize the $162 billion annually in socio-economic benefits of weather and climate prediction.

UNEP Executive Director, Inger Andersen said SOFF will “deliver tangible benefits in terms of lives saved, improved disaster management, livelihoods, biodiversity, food security, water supply and economic growth”.

According to UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, there is an urgent need to strengthen the foundation on which adaptation efforts rely, “As climate change tightens its grip, the establishment of the SOFF is a prerequisite to help vulnerable communities get ahead of the curve, adapt to the effects of climate change and build much-needed resilience.”

Realising the value of the SOFF, the international community has come forward and an initial group of countries and organizations announced financial support, including Denmark, Norway, Nordic Development Fund, Austria, and Portugal.

After the start-up phase, SOFF is expected to open its doors for business in June 2022. In its first three-year implementation period, the SOFF will support 55 countries to close the weather and climate observation gap, including rehabilitation or establishment of up to 400 data-gathering stations, enabling them to generate and internationally exchange data that is missing today.

Fiji Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, emphasized that this new finance mechanism is a lifeline to the most vulnerable countries, especially Small Islands States, which are on the frontline of the fight against climate change.

“Disaster readiness and disaster resilience are two sides of the same coin and they both stand to benefit from the SOFF, designed to support vulnerable countries like Fiji.”

Closing the event announcing the SOFF, Selwin Hart, Assistant Secretary General and Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action, said, “Adaptation does not depend on one of us, nor some of us, but all of us — working together for people and the planet.”

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel November 4, 2021 06:50