The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Energy & Environment Program/Country Program Support intents to support the Government of Liberia through the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a Bill creating the Liberia Hydromet Agency for legislative action.
A Hydromet Agency is one that delivers high-quality weather forecast, early warning systems, water, hydrological and climate services; known as “hydromet services” which underpin resilient development by protecting lives, property and livelihoods. Ambitious climate action requires countries to be equipped with the most reliable warnings and best available climate information services.
The need is becoming imperative for developing country like Liberia to improve her ability to understand, predict, and warn their citizens of hydrological and meteorological (hydromet) hazards. The Liberia Hydromet Agency will be responsible for strengthening hydromet monitoring, forecasting and early warning systems, including through the upgrade of technological systems that gather, analyze, and produce hydromet data, and the provision of training on how best to share and use that knowledge for decision. (© 2020 Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery)
Effective weather, climate, and hydrological services (hydromet services) are critical to protect lives and property and to enhance socio-economic benefits. However, many National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) are facing serious challenges in responding to increasing societal and economic demands. The issue is more severe in low- and some middle-income countries where due to lack of resources, basic infrastructure, technical capacity, and visibility within their governments, timely provision of hydromet services and of adequate response are major difficulties.
At the same time, technological advances and open data policies have significantly enlarged the role of the private sector in the provision of hydromet services. Leveraging private sector capabilities without jeopardizing the provision of public hydromet services is a key condition to maximize socio-economic benefits. There is thus much interest among countries and stakeholders to explore the best ways of maximizing the public-private engagement (PPE) opportunities in their development projects.
The delivery of hydromet services along the hydromet value chain can be organized in different ways. The model chosen for a specific country depends not only on the economic principles but also on the country-specific situation and priorities. The following guidelines can help countries to navigate the issues and to decide on the optimal service delivery model: STEP 1 Dene which services should be provided by the hydromet value chain, STEP 2 Assess which services are public services and which are not, STEP 3 Determine the form of service provision for public services and STEP 4 Organize the form of service provision for non-public services. [Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)]
The needs of societies for more accurate and reliable weather, climate, and hydrological (hydromet») information are at the highest levels today. Weather events–including hurricanes, heat waves, floods, and droughts–jointly cause more economic damage and loss of life than any other disaster. Around the world, better warning systems, better meteorological and hydrological services, and customized service delivery can help prepare for and reduce the cost of weather events, minimize loss and damage, and build socio-economic resilience. Reliable hydromet services are in high demand in weather-dependent sectors like aviation, agriculture, shipping, transport, energy, and tourism. As the effects of climate change modify the patterns and intensity of natural hazards and as rapid urbanization and population growth increase vulnerability, adequate hydromet services are increasingly a very high value proposition. (Julie Dana Practice Manager, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alone with the Ministry of Transport through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) obtained funding from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) to support the Early Warning System (EWS) Project for Liberia. The project supports the Government of Liberia to “Strengthen Liberia’s Climate-related monitoring capabilities, early warning systems and available information for responding to climate shocks and planning adaptation to climate change”. The project has three integrated and complementary outcomes:
- Increased capacity of hydro-meteorological services and associated networks to monitor and predict extreme weather, climate-related hazards and climate trends
- Efficient and effective use of tailored climate, environmental and socio-economic data to produce appropriate information which can be communicated to government entities and communities to enable informed decision-making
- Increased awareness in government, private sector and local communities of the major risks associated with climate change, and use of available information when formulating development policies and strategies
The overarching goal of the project was to reduce the vulnerability of local communities to climate change and safeguard the accomplishments of on-going and planned development efforts from climate change impacts in Liberia. This goal is consistent with a number of important policies and strategies governing Liberia’s national development and its specific responses to climate change. The project outcomes are closely aligned and coordinated with on-going efforts in Liberia to promote development which is resilient to climate change at the national and local levels, and to be able to combine this information with other environmental and socio-economic data to improve science-based decision-making for early warning and adaptation planning.