The CONFER project recently held its annual General Assembly meeting in Bergen, Norway, bringing together 30 climate experts from various countries.
The three-day gathering, held from September 18 to 21, 2023, served as a platform for in-depth discussions on several core aspects of the project’s work. The primary focus of the meeting was to provide a comprehensive overview of the progress made in the various Work Packages (WP), particularly highlighting the tasks and co-production processes within the framework of Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF 57-65).
The discussions also aimed to evaluate CONFER’s effectiveness in improving climate services, with a specific emphasis on forecasting the onset of the rainy season, river flows, flood hotspots, and crop yields.
One notable topic of discussion during the assembly was the latest updates on the machine learning model used to predict crop conditions. The technological advancement has the potential to revolutionize agriculture by providing more accurate and timely information to farmers, enabling them to make informed decisions about planting and harvesting periods.
Another significant agenda item revolved around the plan to operationalize the fully coupled WRF-Hydro model for multi-scale hydrological forecasting over the Greater Horn of Africa. This model seeks to enhance ICPAC’s ability to predict and mitigate the impacts of hydrological events, such as floods and droughts, in the Horn of Africa region.
The other important discussion held during the assembly was to extend the project’s end date to November 30, 2024, to provide ample time to organize one more CATER school, scheduled for next November. The additional time will also allow for comprehensive paper writing, ensuring that the valuable insights and findings generated by CONFER can be shared with the broader scientific community and stakeholders.
Another topic discussion included how CONFER can provide effective support for enhancing the services and early warning capabilities of the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS).
CONFER is a European Union-funded research and innovation initiative with the objective of bolstering resilience to climate impacts and reducing disaster risk in East Africa, potentially reaching 365 million people in eleven countries. It is coordinated by NORCE, based in Bergen, Norway. The main African partner is the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) in Nairobi, Kenya.