Government is to acquire a new Weather Surveillance Radar and other essential weather equipment worth $2.5 million for the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet).
This was announced by Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, at a symposium to mark the 2011 World Meteorological Day in Accra on Wednesday.
This year’s celebration is on the theme: “Climate For You.”
The day is celebrated on March 23 every year, to mark the establishment of World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) by a United Nations Convention in 1950.
WMO is a specialised UN agency charged with providing the necessary platform for keeping watch over the weather and climate in the world.
Mr Iddrisu said procurement of the equipment was part of government’s commitment to support the agency by providing state-of-the-art equipment to help in their effort to provide essential weather data and information especially to vessels that would be operating around the Jubilee oil fields.
The radar equipment would also provide up-to-date and reliable weather information to support safe operation of aircraft, early warning on weather related hazards for disaster prevention, increase in agricultural production and food security and efficient management of water resources for sustainable electricity generation.
Mr Iddrisu emphasised the need for Ghana to ensure compliance with world standards in the handling of matters related to the role climate change played in the life and well-being of humanity.
“The incidence of hazardous weather conditions which affects the global community serves as reminder that no one nation can live in isolation as far as issues of climate is concerned. We owe it a duty to facilitate co-operation in the provision of climatic information to support socio-economic development,” he stated.
He revealed that the Ministry in consultation with stakeholders would review the national Information Communication and Technology (ICT) policy in 2011 to reflect the role ICT played in climate change in order to minimize the effect of socio-cultural activities on climate change.
Available statistics show that ICT contribute about 2 to 2.5 per cent of global Greenhouse Gas emissions.
Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, United Nations Resident Co-ordinator and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative, said to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and sustain gains in development, there was the need to address effects of climate change.
“Climate change has negative effects on virtually all of the goals, it affects agricultural production and other livelihoods, access to clean water and destroys public infrastructure with negative consequences for employment, health and education,” she said.
Ms Sandhu-Rojon stated that there was the need to focus on long-term processes of climate change including rise in temperatures, sea levels and melting of glaciers and work together on a global level to tackle the challenges.
“The threat of climate change is no longer a technical issue in Ghana but an issue that affects development as evidenced by challenges in recurrent floods, worsening coastal erosion and changing patterns of rainfall.”
“Only if we keep climate change at tolerable and viable levels can we achieve and maintain peace and prosperity for all Ghanaians and the world,” she added.
Professor Edwin A. Gyasi, Chairman of the Governing Board of GMet said acquisition of the surveillance radar was a very important step.
He said the existing equipment being used, such as the rain gauge and the Stevenson screen did not allow for timely dissemination of weather information because it took a lot of time for data gathered with those instruments to be analysed and publicised.
“The radar would enable us make instantaneous forecasting as well as advance weather forecasting,” he said.
Prof Gyasi called on government to expedite action on the proposed amendment of the GMet Act 682 to enhance internal income generation capacity of the agency.