The Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) was conceived in 2015 to stimulate the uptake of climate information by policy makers and vulnerable groups including the youth and women. The thinking behind establishment of WISER is made clear by the following extract from the WISER business case:
Africa’s increasingly variable weather and climate threatens development. Agriculture and food security, water, energy, infrastructure, and health are already sensitive to weather related shocks. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and climate-related disasters (especially floods and droughts) will erode gains in poverty reduction and set back economic development.
WISER is composed of two components:
The objectives of the WISER Policy and Enabling Environment Component (PEEC) are:
Output 1: Strengthening the enabling environment for generation, uptake and use of weather and climate services to support sustainable development
1.1 Analytical evidence of the socio-economic benefit and value for money of Climate Information Services (CIS) uptake demonstrated
1.2 Existing platforms leveraged for enhancing the enabling environment for accelerated investments in CIS
1.3 CIS knowledge and awareness of key policy makers and influence groups enhanced
1.4 WISER knowledge products packaged translated into appropriate communication products and widely disseminated
1.5 Partnership for coordinated delivery of CIS established
Output 2: Intellectual leadership in climate science in Africa built through innovative evidence generation and learning
2.1 Research definition, oversight and uptake managed
2.2 CR4D secretariat function operationalized
In the past, weather and climate data produced by national hydro-meteorological services (NHMSs) in Africa were mostly packaged for the aviation industry and to a lesser extent for undertaking weather forecasting. Gradually, the role of NHMSs has evolved to the provision of seasonal forecasts as well as climate modelling. Climate information services from the Met Agencies are increasingly being deployed to mitigate climate impacts and support resilience planning for climate vulnerable users that include farmers, pastoralists, fishermen and urban communities. These applications cut across development sectors such as water, energy, agriculture and transport. Sharing of lessons and practices in ongoing interventions can catalyse new partnerships, collaborations, research and innovations that facilitate the CIS value chain.
Internet penetration in Africa has increased by over 7400% since the year 2000 (internetworldstats, 2016). Further, mobile phone penetration has increased exponentially in the last decade to top 81% in 2017 (Ericsson, 2017). This has spawned rapid advancement in information technology uptake for development applications within the Africa continent. Already, the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we perceive climate change interventions. According to IBM, IoT based weather forecasting systems will help farmers plant the necessary amount and prepare for disasters like drought or floods.
As one facet of innovation, the WISER programme intends to tap into the opportunity presented by this emerging landscape, by promoting technological creativity, entrepreneurship and innovations in the production, packaging, dissemination and uptake of CIS at different levels of decision making and utility.
To advance the foregoing, ACPC will convene a CIS innovation solution forum (ideas factory) during the 7th Climate Change and Development in Africa conference (CCDA-VII) to recognize innovators in CIS delivery for transformational impact. Details of the CCDA-VII conference are available at http://www.climdev-africa.org/ccda7.
Proposals for oral presentations and posters can address one or more of the following topics from the perspective of research and innovations for enhancing the processes of production and uptake of CIS in Africa:
1. CIS co-production, partnerships and the role of outlook forums
2. Effective policy makers’ engagement for improved CIS enabling environment
3. Entrepreneurship and technological advances in CIS last mile delivery
4. Gender and youth role in CIS
5. Innovative approaches to cross-sector CIS coordination
6. Innovations in the management and delivery of CIS knowledge
A well-thought out proposal should include the following:
ECA technical Committee will assess the applications primarily on four criteria:
ECA have the right to reproduce and transmit in any media, for non-commercial purposes, information about the work that has been selected. ECA might also contact those who have not been selected for networking purposes or other potential collaboration opportunities.
Applicants are allowed to submit only one application.
Abstracts of not more than 250 words should be submitted by 20th September, 2018. Notification of acceptance/decline will be sent thereafter. Those intending to make innovation presentations and whose abstracts that are selected will be required to submit a short paper.
All contributions should be submitted in English or French. Submission is online at http://www.climdev-africa.org/ccda7/abstract_submission. Submissions by email will not be accepted except in very exceptional circumstances.
Please note that abstracts should be submitted only if the author is able to attend the conference. Authors of successful innovations will be provided with a slot to defend their innovation during the climate information services (CIS) day shecduled for 11th October, 2018 and will be recognized with an innovation certificate.
Authors who are in need of financial support will be considered for conference participation grant and should indicate this on the registration form.
Participation is solely by invitation for those who have no innovations to present. Invited participants will be required to register online.
 IBM, Can IoT turn back climate change?, https://www.ibm.com/blogs/internet-of-things/climate-change (accessed 1 August 2017)