The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) was officially opened on Wednesday by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
ICPAC is a designated regional climate center by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide climate services and early warnings to 11 East African countries.
Speaking virtually during the launch, President Kenyatta noted that the inauguration of the facility will harness innovative technology to advance climate works.
“Indeed, the establishment of this Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre has been a response to the recurring droughts and other natural disasters in our region’’, President Kenyatta said.
As part of the center’s launch, a Disaster Operations Center was established, with a situation room that will monitor major hazards and provide regional early warnings for drought, floods, extreme rainfall, food insecurity, or pests like the desert locust.
According to IGAD Executive Secretary, Workneh Gebeyehu, the launch of this center is timely and calls upon stakeholders to adopt appropriate and innovative approaches for climate change and adaptation.
“What is most regrettable in the current climate change discourse is that the focus is on either shifting blame to whoever is considered to be the most responsible for degrading our planet, or engaging in ‘Disaster Olympics’ competing for whom has been most affected. What is being ignored is that climate change is impassive, indiscriminate, and universally disempowering, it will neither recognize nor respect the status, size, wealth, or even military power of any given country.”
The launch of the climate center as a way to enhance earth monitoring systems, open data access, and a multi-hazards early warning system comes in the wake of the global COP26 summit set to be held later next month.