10th Climate Forum Brings Together Key Stakeholders
The National Meteorological Service held its tenth National Climate Outlook Forum today in Belize City. The forum highlighted key messages and presentations from local, regional and international agencies on the provision of climate information and services. It also included presentations from meteorologists and climatologists at the National Meteorological Service on the rainfall and temperatures forecasted for the remainder of the rainy season.
Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Disaster Risk Management
“This is the tenth climate forum that is organized by the Met Service and certainly on a daily basis we get our weather reports, but it is absolutely important for the forum to inform the stakeholders of not only the seasonal weather forecast, but also what is happening currently and what can be forecasted for the near future. So, while it is important for the general public, some of the important stakeholders here today have representation, from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, even the Blue Economy and the staff from Sustainable Development and other areas, because it is so important on a national basis. The information that is going to be presented, we will look at those seasonal forecasts, but certainly the daily events and what is coming here. Right now we are experiencing some extreme weathers with some rains that are currently going to be here for the next few days. In terms of productive for agriculture it is extremely important. People need to know when it is time to prepare their land, when it is time to plant, when it is time for harvesting. So it is absolutely important. What is also important is the collaboration from stakeholders because sometimes information has to come, not only from Met office and the Climatological Services to the public but also from the stakeholders back to them so that they can be also is able to inform. So a lot of it is collaboration and coordination among the favor stakeholders, with the Department .”
Ronald Gordon, Chief Meteorologist, National Meteorological Service
“The presentation that I personally will be delivering is on the activity for this year, the hurricane season and the prediction is for it to be an above normal season. So, we do hope that our stakeholders, whether it be in agriculture, disaster risk management, energy and so on will take that information and have their plans, their contingency in place in case there is a storm coming our way this particular season.”
Climate Outlook Forum
At the top of the news, we told you about the bad weather that is forecasted to affect Belize this weekend. That monitoring of the weather, which you heard the Chief Meteorologist describe in detail, is but a small snapshot of the entire hurricane season.
We caught up with him at their 10th annual National Climate Outlook Forum. It's an extended discussion in which the weather technocrats provide detailed information to the country's disaster emergency personnel on the entire season's forecast. They discussed advanced information about the likelihood and impacts of seasonal climate conditions such as rainfall and temperature, drought, and the Atlantic Hurricane Season, among other topics. it's supposed to make it possible for decision-makers to plan agricultural, public health, water, and other risk-management strategies. It serves as a key national platform for promoting regular dialogue and inter-agency coordination in responding to natural hazards, climate variability, extremes, and change.
7News stopped by during the forum, which was held at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel today, and here's what Minister Landy Habet told us about the event:
Orlando Habet - Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management
"It's the 10th Meteorological Climate Forum. Last year, because of COVID, everything was done virtually. So we're lucky that some of the restrictions have been lifted, and we're doing it face to face, but very important because now that the hurricane season has started, and before this, they had given some predictions on the weather, but regards to the possibility for fires and everything else because of the dry season. The new season for the hurricane started, and they're looking not only at the importance of the seasonal forecast, which helps you to plan far ahead, but the daily and short-term forecast that can help you do quick planning, and the emergency actions to come to place. It looks at how the climate data, the meteorology data can assist a variety of stakeholders, from the health department, to the Blue Economy, and one big one is especially agriculture. We know that we have to prepare soils for planting in the planting season, and then eventually, your harvest season. So, it impacts food production, food security, and all that is very important. Also, when you at the short-term data, you look at hurricanes, depressions, and other storms, the issue of flooding, and how we go about preparing ourselves to deal with that quick onset event. So, I think that in itself speaks a lot about what's happening here today. Also, on the larger scale, for planning purposes, it helps you to come up with those national policies, that we can come at the ministerial level, discuss in Cabinet, how to come up with those plans and policies to be put into place, so that we can do the part of mitigation side, looking at adaptation and resilience to climate events and climate change."
"Can you share any of the topics that jumped out at you, or some of the information shared that caught your attention while listening to the presenters?"
"Certainly, one is the different systems that they have been putting in place, the emergency system of early warning, so that people can know quickly what's going to happen in the next 24 to 48 hours. It's so important that even if you plan at the family level, you don't really activate until that information comes out."
The goal of this forum is to make disaster risk management information more accessible, understandable, and relevant to the general public.