The Rwandan government, in partnership with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), has announced plans to establish a state-of-the-art Weather Forecasting Centre of Excellence in weather, climate modelling, prediction, and data sharing.
It comes following discussions between the minister of environment, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya and Prof. Celeste Saulo, the incoming Secretary General of WMO, held on the sidelines of the climate research conference that closed on Friday, October 27 in Kigali.
This initiative aims to enhance weather prediction capabilities, improve disaster preparedness, and bolster the country’s resilience to climate change.
The conference focused on three themes, namely; advances in climate research, climate services and solutions, and human interactions with climate.
The centre of excellence in weather forecast expected in Rwanda could be the effective pathway to early warning for all and could benefit not only Rwanda but the entire EAC region as well as meteoroidal science advancement.
Rwanda, known for its commitment to sustainable development and environmental conservation, recognizes the importance of accurate and timely weather forecasting in various sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and infrastructure planning. The establishment of this center signifies another significant step towards harnessing the power of meteorological data for strategic decision-making.
According to a report by The New Times, the Ministry of Environment explains a set of eight benefits from the anticipated centre of excellence.
“With a dedicated center, Rwanda can significantly enhance its ability to monitor, forecast, and respond to climate-related natural hazards. This would reduce the loss of life and property during floods, droughts, storms, and other extreme events, thus increasing overall resilience,” reads part of the concept note shared with The New Times.
The CentRE of Excellence can provide the country with more accurate and timely weather forecasts and early warning systems.
Rwanda’s development pathway is threatened by recurring climate-related natural hazards, including floods, droughts, earthquakes, storms, and lightning.
Over the last decade, the frequency and intensity of hazards have increased.
These changing conditions are expected to negatively affect agricultural productivity, food availability, water resources, human health, ecosystems, and energy production and use.
Enhanced agricultural productivity
Accurate weather and climate modeling can provide farmers with vital information for crop planning, planting, and harvesting.
This can optimize agricultural productivity, increase food availability, and contribute to food security.
Sustainable water resource management
By predicting precipitation patterns, droughts, and floods, Rwanda can better plan and manage its water resources, reducing the risk of water scarcity and ensuring a stable supply for agriculture and human consumption.
This helps in reducing water scarcity and mitigating the impacts of water-related hazards.
Public health benefits
Weather and climate have a significant impact on public health. By understanding and predicting climate-related diseases (like malaria or waterborne diseases), Rwanda can develop strategies for prevention and management.
Additionally, extreme weather events can affect the spread of diseases and access to healthcare facilities. Improved forecasting can help in planning for such eventualities.
This would help in the prevention and management of diseases, as well as more effective responses to health crises caused by weather-related events.
Energy production, particularly hydropower, is susceptible to weather conditions. Accurate weather and climate models can aid in predicting energy generation from renewable sources and optimizing energy distribution, reducing disruptions in the power supply and enhancing energy security.
Economic growth and diversification
Investing in a Center of Excellence for weather and climate modeling not only helps in climate adaptation but can also open opportunities for economic diversification.
Rwanda can become a regional hub for climate research, providing consultancy services and training to neighbouring countries facing similar climate challenges.
This can generate revenue and enhance the country’s expertise in climate science contributing to economic growth.
Resilience to climate change
With climate-related hazards intensifying, a Center of Excellence would help Rwanda adapt to climate change by providing essential data and tools for long-term planning and adaptation strategies.
Rwanda can better understand and anticipate extreme weather events, enabling proactive measures to reduce their impact on agriculture, water resources, human health, and ecosystems.
Such a center can foster international collaboration and partnerships. Rwanda can work with global organizations, research institutions, and countries with expertise in climate science.
This collaboration can lead to knowledge transfer, access to data and technology, and financial support for climate-related initiatives strengthening Rwanda’s position in the international climate community.