SMHI trains decision-makers in Africa on climate issues

The first two out of nine training programmes on climate change mitigation and adaptation targeted at three regions in Africa have commenced. SHMI experts kicked off the programmes with a one week regional seminar in Ethiopia for Eastern Africa and Niger for West Africa. A total of 60 participants attended from both regions and will continue their training in Sweden this autumn. The southern African programme starts next spring.

SMHI was commissioned by Sida to implement nine international training programmes over the next six years on “Climate Change - Mitigation and Adaptation” in Africa.

"The scope of the programmes is wide, covering topics from cutting edge climate research to adaptation, building societal resilience and crises prevention. Water resources and agriculture are given special emphasis," says Christer Åkerlund, director of business services at SMHI.

A total of 250 decision-makers from nine African countries will participate in the programmes. The training programmes run for just over six months and consist of three parts: the start-up and concluding meetings are held in the respective regions and a three-week intensive training programme holds at SMHI in Norrköping.

Programme starting in Ethiopia and Niger 

The first programme has begun in Ethiopia with 27 decision-makers from Eastern Africa in attendance.

"We had a great start, with many interesting lectures by external experts as well as our own leading to enthusiastic discussions and exercises among the participants," reported Eleonor Marmefelt, SMHI Head of Capacity Development, from a warm Addis Ababa.

"We also made study visits to a women's cooperative involved in a climate themed project and a research field where new, more drought-tolerant crops are being tested”

Another training programme has commenced in Niamey, Niger, for participants from West Africa. The working language for this programme is French.

Empowering individuals and forging regional cooperation

Participants in these programmes work at different levels in various authorities such as water and environmental management, risk management and agriculture. Other participants come from industry and volunteer organizations (CSOs).

"Our goal is to empower organizations by building human capacity, and to support development of regional cooperation between different players. Africa, which is the most vulnerable continent in terms of climate, has not had the same opportunity as we have here to build up knowledge on climate issues, infrastructure or cooperation between players," says Eleonor Marmefelt.

Many aspects of climate change 

The training programme covers several perspectives, such as:

  • bridging gaps between science and society
  • cutting edge climate research
  • climate change impacts on water resources, agriculture, health, etc.
  • vulnerability assessments, societal risk management, climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • decision-making under uncertainty
  • sustainable development of modern governance structures in stake-holder organizations
  • improved communication between stake-holders and decision makers

The participants also carry out project assignments of relevance to their own organizations.

"In conjunction with the concluding seminars held in Africa, we will also invite information providers such as teachers, agricultural advisers, health personnel and women's organizations to shorter, intensive courses," concludes Christer Åkerlund.

Visit to a research field where more drought-tolerant crops are being tested.
Visit to a research field where more drought-tolerant crops are being tested. The study visit was made with local farmers, who also want to learn more about these crops.