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Stronger evidence on climate change impact needed to spur action: experts

Scientists attending a climate forum in Rwanda called for more concrete evidence of climate change effects on people and environment, with the hope of spurring political action.

They made the resolution on Friday during the closure of the five-day 12th European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) User Forum in Africa in Rwandan capital Kigali.

Experts hope that strengthening evidence will bolster the political will to act, and ensure that global climate change impact is mitigated.

"Lack of political will derails climate change mitigation efforts. With clear evidence of climate change effects on environment, it will push governments into action," said John Ntaganda Semafara, director-general of Rwanda Meteorology Agency.

Part of the forum’s aims is to improve satellite data usage in Africa to enhance disaster resilience on the continent.

"One of the challenges that Africa is still facing is the capacity to gather necessary information and provide reliable and strengthened evidence of climate change effects on people and environment to governments," Semafara said.

He noted that the data received from EUMETSAT satellites is vital towards helping African countries to mitigate climate change consequences and adapt to its impact.

The forum, organized by EUMETSAT and Rwanda’s Meteorology Agency brought together about 200 participants from 57 African countries, representing National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, governmental agencies and regional institutions from Africa and Europe.

The meeting reaffirmed commitment to strengthen regional capacities in the area of climate change monitoring and climate services production in a cooperative and concerted way.

Alain Rathier, director general of EUMETSAT, said the satellite exploration in Africa is important, since the majority of the population depend a lot on agriculture.

"Africa is exposed to a very broad range of high impact weather and climate phenomena, and strengthened evidence of climate change impact is paramount to know the scale of climate change effects on the environment," he added.

Rathier stated that free access to satellite data provided by EUMETSAT will allow African nations to better monitor the weather, the climate and the environment.

At the meeting ,climate scientists concurred that there is need of thorough training to exploit satellite data, and therefore long-term cooperation is required between climate change experts and the governments.

Dr. Benjamin Lamptey from Monitoring of Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) also called on countries to implement Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Paris Agreement, adopted on 12 December 2015, calls on its parties to respect and promote their human rights obligations when taking action to address climate change.

"The effects of climate change are being felt all over the world. We however need concrete data on climate change impact on our environment for sustainable action. This will be achieved through development of new applications for monitoring climate change and improving disaster resilience," Lamptey said.

Jimirasire

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