World Bank Grant Supports Improved Weather and Climate Services in Yemen

September 5, 2013

WASHINGTON, September 5, 2013 –A new World Bank project will support the delivery of reliable weather and water information to people throughout Yemen, especially the poor and vulnerable who are most affected by natural disasters. These improved services will strengthen the country’s ability to manage the multiple challenges associated with climate change.

“The project will help Yemen build future climate change resilience and manage its water resources and weather conditions more effectively,” said Wael Zakout, World Bank Country Manager for Yemen. “Knowledge of climate variability and change combined with reliable meteorological and hydrological forecasts and warnings against flash floods will contribute to sustainable economic and social development in Yemen.

The US$19 million grant approved today will improve the accuracy of weather forecasting. The Climate Information System and Pilot Program for Climate Resilience Coordination Project will introduce new technologies and provide access to higher resolution global weather and climate products. Service improvements will also include the training of providers and users to allow both to tailor the use of information more effectively.

In Yemen, rainfall is erratic and variable, a situation made worse by high evapotranspiration rates. Flash floods and droughts are frequent hazards displacing thousands and causing loss of life and significant damage to assets and livelihoods. The floods of 2008, for example, killed 180 people, displaced 10,000 and caused damage and losses to infrastructure, shelter, and livelihoods equivalent to US$1,638 billion amounting to 6 percent of Yemen’s GDP.  Last month, 50 people were killed in flash floods in Wadi Nakhla in Taiz.

“Effective adaptation to the consequences of climate variability and change depends on access to timely and reliable meteorological and hydrological information to inform the decision making process,” said Lia Carol Sieghart, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “The project will better address the long term impact of climate change as well as the short term response to weather related disasters.”

The grant financing package for the project is provided by the Climate Investment Funds’ Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), which was set up to support countries’ efforts to integrate climate risk and resilience into core development planning and implementation.

Greater equality in the workplace is a hallmark of PPCR projects. This includes the Government of Yemen seconding and financing female technical specialists to the Yemen-PPCR where they will benefit from additional training and have the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the overall success of the program.

In support of the project, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed committing all Ministers of line-entities agencies responsible for the collection of climate data, analysis and decision-support to a data sharing policy that will significantly enhance their capacity to exchange data and deliver reliable weather, climate and water services. This is a major step forward in the modernization of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in Yemen.

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