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Climate Services Initiative takes shape

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Expanding knowledge on and access to climate and weather services

At home in the Far Eastern Himalaya

Rolled out in 2018, the Climate Services Initiative has laid the groundwork to support the information needs of individuals and institutions to anticipate and manage climate-related shocks and opportunities effectively. It builds on our regional work with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and on our HKH-HYCOS work with hydromet offices, along with emerging weather and climate modelling facilities and information dissemination platforms while also strengthening regional dimensions of weather and climate services and supporting improved national capacity and capability for impact-based forecasting and decision making. In 2019, the Initiative developed an operational framework to guide applications of climate information for priority areas like agriculture, tourism, ecosystems, and environmental pollution.

The Climate Services Initiative held two regional level workshops in 2019, bringing together users and providers of climate services from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan to discuss and better understand user requirements and the use of climate projections in impact and adaptation studies.

Through our partnership with the Met Office, the UK’s national meteorological service, we’ve also been able to help shape the Asia Regional Resilience to a Changing Climate (ARRCC) programme, which aims to strengthen weather forecasting systems across Asia. We have also forged partnerships with key agencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan for impact-based forecasting and jointly identified a list of capacity-building activities particularly for hydrometeorological agencies.

In October 2019, the WMO convened the High Mountain Summit high-level dialogue which engaged decision makers and local actors to develop a roadmap for science-based, user-driven knowledge and information systems. In his keynote address our Director General mentioned the significance of our HKH regional climate work and stressed the urgent need for building resilience in mountain communities through people-centred climate services and regional cooperation to share information, build capacities, and co-develop solutions. The Summit further identified priority actions to support sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation both in high-mountain and downstream areas and concluded with adoption of a Call to Action, which calls for open access to hydrological, cryospheric, meteorological, and climate information services. During the Summit, we also hosted a side event on “Cryosphere and society in the Hindu Kush Himalaya” which brought together participants from regional and global institutions to discuss the challenges in providing climate services in high-mountain regions, to amplify the voice of the HKH in the context of the Summit’s agenda and to highlight the HKH Call to Action.

A HKH CLIMATE CENTRE
Through our Climate Services Initiative, ICIMOD serves as a HKH Climate Centre to enhance and support climate services in the region by fostering co-design and codevelopment of mountain-specific climate solutions, data products, and applications. Besides serving as an innovative climate information base, the Centre will promote action-oriented research and support evidencebased policy making. Building on our strong regional presence, we can bring benefits to national hydromet services by providing capacity building, providing a platform to share knowledge and co-developing climate service applications.

The Initiative partnered with the Met Office – UK to shape the Asia Regional Resilience to a Changing Climate programme, which aims to strengthen weather forecasting systems across Asia.

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