Conclusions and Recommendations

In conclusion, the associated COF processes (capacity building activities) have established a regional mechanism through pilot projects to demonstrate place-based opportunities and challenges of applying seasonal forecast for disaster reduction in the region. Additionally, the capacity building effort has resulted in a well-recognized international framework, the Climate Outlook Forums, which generate and disseminate experimental forecasts for disaster reduction in the region. This framework is now the most credible and legitimate source of climate information decision-makers utilize to plan and respond to hydro-meteorological disasters in the region. Some of the emerging institutions such as the networks of climate journalists (Network of GHA Climate Journalists and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Climate Journalists) have resulted in improved reporting of climate information, improved collaboration and understanding between the media institutions and the operational forecasters in the GHA and SADC sub-regions. Some journalists in these sub-regions now engage in specialized reporting and work with operational forecasters on a continuous basis to monitor and report on indicators of any emerging climate related extremes instead of waiting to report disasters.

In spite of the positive spin-offs of the COF process as outlined in the previous sections, the future of the process and its institutional capacity building activities is not bright, if all players, such the policy makers and scientists, do not resolve the existing institutional and technical challenges facing the process. The responsibility squarely lies on regional governments and interstate institutions in developing regions that benefit from the COF process. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the World Food Program (WFP) and humanitarian institutions that benefit from seasonal forecasts should integrate the cost of capacity building activities into their regular development program as a requirement driver in order to justify budgeting for COFs and related activities.

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