Let’s invest in Volta Basin’s sustainable management, preservation – Gmet

Mr Eric Essuman, the Acting Director-General of Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet), has called for investment in the Volta Basin's sustainable management and preservation to mitigate the impact of climate change. He said the Volta Basin was a vital natural resource for the nation, promoting biodiversity and supporting livelihoods across various sectors crucial for socio-economic development. 'Recognising its immense value, it becomes imperative for us to collectively invest in its sustainable management and preservation,' he said during a stakeholder workshop in Accra. It was convened by the GMet on behalf of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the Volta Basin Authority (VBA), and the Global Water Partnership in West Africa (GWP-WA). The workshop, which was on the theme: 'From Awareness to Action: Stakeholder insights into Ghana's Monsoon Season,' aims to enhance stakeholder understanding of GMet's climate services. It is also to foster dialogue between operational meteorologists and stakeholde rs to improve the accessibility and reliability of seasonal forecasts. The gathering was under the auspices of the project; 'Integrating Flood and Drought Management and Early Warning for Climate Change Adaptation in the Volta Basin (VFDM).' Mr Essuman said GMet, in collaboration with the Ghana Hydrological Authority (HYDRO) and the Water Resource Commission (WRC), had empowered the media and other stakeholders within the country with new flood and drought bulletins developed for early warning and disaster risk reduction within the Volta Basin. Ghana's monsoon season was not merely a weather phenomenon but served as a pillar in the country's climate dynamics, exerting significant influence across critical sectors such as Energy, Disaster Management, Public Health, Agriculture, and Water Resources. 'Understanding and forecasting its patterns presents formidable scientific challenges, yet its successful prediction is indispensable for safeguarding our nation's resilience and fostering economic prosperity,' he added. Mr Essuman said the recent Akosombo Dam spillage stood as a stark reminder of the profound impact of monsoon variability on communities and livelihoods. He added that it served as a touching illustration of the tangible consequences of inadequate preparedness and response to monsoon-related phenomena. Mr Essuman said accurate and timely seasonal forecasts were critical for planning and mitigating risks associated with monsoon activity fluctuations. 'Furthering our commitment to stakeholder engagement and capacity building, GMet, in collaboration with the AICCRA project, conducted training sessions in Kintampo and Cape Coast, targeting farmers and agricultural extension officers on interpreting and utilising the latest seasonal forecasts,' he said. Effective communication and validation of forecasts at various timescales were imperative for managing climate hazards such as floods and droughts. He said it was for that reason they were introducing the common alerting protocol to enhance understan ding and enable timely responses to climate hazards for an effective early warning system. Recent events in East Africa, specifically in Tanzania and Kenya, marked by loss of lives and widespread destruction due to heavy rains and landslides, served as sobering reminders of the urgency of collective actions, Mr Essuman said. 'This year, we embark on a mission to fortify our alert distribution systems, refine communication strategies, and ensure that early warning reaches those who need it most, empowering them to take timely and informed actions.' Ms Maureen Ahiataku, Senior Meteorologist, GMet, said the national framework for climate services would enable the Agency to regulate and coordinate its climate-related services effectively in the country, which included the implementation of early warning. She said the national framework for climate services was deducted from the global framework for climate services, initiated by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), in collaboration with other partners . 'For West Africa, we have this support from ECOWAS and WMO to help us develop this framework, where it started in 2019 with stakeholder engagements, validation workshops and now sent back to WMO for review,' she added. GMet was keen on exploring more technology to improve climate service delivery digital transformation to enable society to better manage the risks and opportunities arising from climate variability and change, the Senior Meteorologist said. Source: Ghana News Agency