In 1995, a select group of scientists from the U.S. and elsewhere, including countries of Africa, convened a small meeting in Washington D.C. to explore the possibility of providing the developing countries the opportunity to benefit from advances/research in climate science (seasonal forecasting) to reduce their vulnerability to climate risks such as droughts, floods, tropical cyclones, forest fires, etc. This meeting was followed by a workshop: "Reducing Climate Related Vulnerability in the Southern African Region" (NOAA-OGP Report, 1996). One of the recommendations of this workshop was to find a way to help developing countries understand the role of climate variability, and to use this knowledge to help reduce their vulnerability to climate risks through the use of seasonal climate forecast information. Climate experts and policy makers who participated in the workshop recommended the COF process as an appropriate vehicle to provide not only climate information, but also capacity building to apply and utilize the information.
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