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Droughts, floods and other climate-related hazards are key drivers of hunger. The increasing frequency and intensity of these events have meant that a growing number of communities are living in risk-prone areas, including farmers and pastoralists and others in the agriculture value chain. To help vulnerable communities adapt to a changing climate, WFP's Climate Services’ programme collaborates with National Meteorological Services to co-produce relevant and timely climate and weather advisories that can be translated into concrete action to support individuals and organizations in making risk-informed decisions.

Climate Services refers to the provision of climate information and products, such as agro-meteorological bulletins and crop weather calendars, to inform and assist in the decision-making process to manage climate-related risks. The consistent and coherent production, translation/interpretation, transfer and use of climate products and information – in both long and short-term time scales –  is critical to enable communities to anticipate, prepare for and adapt to climate shocks.

Developing effective climate services requires frequent and repeated engagement with end-users to ensure timely advisories provide comprehensible information across diverse communication channels.  

The World Food Programme (WFP)'s climate services programme is hinged on the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) which enables the development and application of climate services to assist decision-making at all levels in support of addressing climate-related risks. WFP has been involved in developing climate services in the agriculture and food security sector as well as piloting climate service adaptation programmes in various countries. WFP climate service work currently includes: 

  1. Strengthening the capacity of national meteorological services to co-produce climate information to inform planning and decision-making to reduce climate-related risks. This includes supporting the development of national frameworks for climate services, strengthening coordination and governance of climate services in a country, and strengthening the linkages with the disaster management authorities and other relevant sectors.
  2. Supporting the delivery of climate services and last-mile early warnings, which means reaching the most vulnerable populations in the communities at risk with a view to help them take action before the impact of a climate-related event. The support is provided through agricultural extension officers, extension services and communication and technology channels  such as radio, mobile phone and social media platforms, and integrating this work across WFP’s climate programmes.

WFP's climate services

Field Operations – Climate Services

Niger – Capacity strengthening

people sitting under huge trees

In 2021 WFP, in partnership with the Direction de la Metereologie National (DMN), reached 1.8 million people in rural communities with climate services through mobile phones, community radio programmes and agricultural extension services. The monthly climate updates issued by DMN included rainfall forecasts and observations about pasture conditions, water availability, pests, sowing and the growing status of local crops. This information allowed farmers to decide when to sow/plant based on the risk of droughts, dry spells and expected season end and start dates to minimize losses to crop and animal production.

One of the successful approaches to disseminating these advisories has been the “pagivolte”, a didactic and awareness-raising support for local farmers.

WFP is also supporting DMN in implementing the National Framework for Climate Services through convening the sectoral working groups. The Framework is the key coordination and governance mechanism for all climate services actors and priorities in the country.
 

Malawi and Tanzania

a man and a woman are talking to a mic

WFP's work focused on helping rural communities access tailored weather and climate information that they can easily understand and use to make decisions to strengthen their food security and improve their overall livelihoods.

WFP and the governments of Malawi and Tanzania, have an integrated approach to help co-design and deliver reliable and easy-to-understand information by training "intermediaries" (namely extension workers and NGO volunteers) on how to access and understand  complex climate and weather information, and how to communicate it to smallholder farmers and pastoralists through farmer groups and radio listening hubs.

This work was undertaken through the food security component of the Global Framework for Climate Services-Adaptation Programme for Africa (GFCS-APA) initiative.

Zimbabwe

a woman is working at field

WFP is working with the National Meteorological Services Department (MSD) to strengthen its capacity to generate, interpret and deliver tailored climate and weather information to effectively prepare for, anticipate and respond to climate shocks. To enhance communities' trust and buy-in, a study was undertaken to understand indigenous knowledge on weather and climate indicators regarding crop calendars, early warnings, and to inform preparedness against climate hazards.

WFP is working with MSD to support the integration of local knowledge with forecasts as a hybrid solution towards improving comprehension and ensuring communities have the information they need to better cope with climate shocks.

Mozambique

a man, wearing a WFP t-shirt, is smiling to camera

WFP is collaborating with national institutions to support the establishment of an early warning system for drought, including the creation of a dedicated multisectoral technical working group to guide its development and integration with the anticipatory action system.

In addition, WFP also works with the Mozambique National Meteorological Institute, the Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to deliver climate information to smallholder farmers.  WFP Mozambique, in partnership with the University of Reading (UK), is delivering climate services through the Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) approach which combines historical climate data and participatory planning methods to help communities make informed agricultural choices based on seasonal forecasts.  This includes the training of extension workers, government officials, cooperating partners,and volunteer farmers to interpret seasonal forecasts against historical trends.

In addition to supporting INAM operationalize a seasonal monitoring system and the production of bulletins to further enhance the delivery of actionable climate information, WP is also supporting the National Communications Institutes which include community radios to communicate climate information to farmers. The Monthly National bulletin has been issued regularly since December 2019 and is available here. In June 2022, three province-level seasonal monitoring bulletins were launched. WFP is currently integrating  climate services with other WFP initiatives which will have a positive impact on farmers' food security, increasing their income and enhancing their capacity to cope with climate and weather-related challenges.

Field Operations – Last-Mile Early Warnings

Somalia - Drought

overweak goats and a mother who is carrying her child at her back

As part of WFP’s Anticipatory Action programme, WFP Somalia provided last-mile early warning messages accompanied by cash transfers ahead of a fourth consecutive drought during the 2022 Gu season (March/April-June).

To reach those potentially impacted, radio messages were broadcast through four radio stations reaching nearly 60 per cent of the 2 million population in Bay and Bakool regions. The early warning messages explained the risk of drought and gave suggestions on what families/communities could do to mitigate and prepare for the predicted drought conditions. In addition, some of the most vulnerable received both an early warning and cash to help fund preventative actions.

Bangladesh - Floods

two people are standing in an island that watered around

WFP is supporting the government of Bangladesh in developing last mile early warnings for floods as part of their Anticipatory Action programme. WFP has also supported the design and testing of a flood warning and dissemination framework which outlines responsible agencies/organizations, available communication mediums, relevant stakeholders and dissemination agents at various levels to ensure a last mile early warning is delivered effectively and in a timely manner to families.

Using the protocol established in the flood warning and dissemination framework , the Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (FFWC) communicates to relevant Disaster Management Committees (DMC) when a river is likely to reach the flood danger level. DMCs, in turn, monitor the FFWC website and communicate to potentially affected communities, using megaphones and mosque microphones, that certain areas are likely to be inundated by floods. They also impart instructions on how to protect oneself, evacuation plans, areas of refuge, and the delivery of anticipatory humanitarian aid for the most vulnerable.