Call for Strategic Partnerships to Build Resilient Communities

Islamabad : Impact-based forecasts and warnings are increasingly being used worldwide to communicate the risks and potential impacts of climate-related disasters to the end users, thus enabling anticipatory action planning and reducing the impacts of these disasters. There is a growing understanding, need, and demand for providing scientifically accurate information for people to timely and efficiently respond to risk.
Experts and participants expressed these views during the workshop on “Impact-based Forecasting (IBF) and Anticipatory Action Planning”. The workshop was organized by Pakistan Meteorological Department, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)) and Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems for Asia and Africa (RIMES).
The workshop brought together researchers, providers and users of climate information, development practitioners, and decision-makers to review the current use of climate services and discuss the scope of IBF and anticipatory action planning in the country.
The chief guest, Mr. Idrees Mahsud, Member Disaster Risk Reduction at National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) appreciated the contribution of FAO and RIMES to resilience building of Pakistan by partnering with the government departments He said there is a need to strengthen our forecasting capabilities, dissemination mechanisms , and creating an understanding of what forecast and warning means. We still have to make a sound headway and NDMA will continue working towards that. The catastrophe in 2022 has strengthened our resolve of enhancing our national emergency operation system that will not only cater to response but also for resilience, mitigation, and preparedness before the onset of disasters.
While sharing his thoughts at the inaugural session, Mr. Mehar Sahibzad Khan (Director General, Pakistan Meteorological Department-PMD) said that Impact-Based Forecast (IBF) and Anticipatory Action (AA) are emerging topics and there is a need for standardization of these approaches. In this regard, the Pakistan Meteorological Department has been actively making progress from hazard-based forecasting, (i.e. “what the weather will be”), to impact-based forecasting, (i.e. “what the weather will do”). Currently, the IBF approach is being implemented in select districts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with the support of Provincial Agriculture Departments and is expected to be refined and extended to other districts with the passage of time.  It is pertinent to note that the process of establishing viable impact based forecasting systems and anticipatory action planning is reliant on strong collaboration and coordination among the sectoral partner agencies. Collaboration enables greater data collection, the definition of impact thresholds, exposure and vulnerabilities, interpretation of results through experience and information from the relevant partner agencies. The PMD is happy to collaborate with FAO and RIMES and is looking forward to strengthening synergies with the relevant stakeholders. This workshop is the first step in this regard.

In her closing remarks, Ms. Florence Rolle, FAO Representative in Pakistan thanked the participants for attending the workshop and urged upon the need of building strategic partnerships. The more we work in harmony, the better we can achieve our objectives. She said that all actors in a partnership might have different directions; nonetheless, the goal remains the same i.e. to provide timely assistance to people affected by natural disasters. She stressed on the significance of the support of government of Pakistan to FAO’s work and also assured them of FAO’s complete support. However, she also reiterated that government has to act as champions in putting in place mechanisms such as Impact Based Forecasting and Anticipatory Action Planning to protect the community.

Presentations were made by Dr. K J Ramesh (Senior Advisor, RIMES), Dr. Zaheer Ahmad Babar (Director National Weather Forecasting Center, PMD), Dr. Sarfaraz (Chief Meteorologist, RMC, Karachi, PMD), Ms. Asma Jawad (Director National Agro-met Center, PMD), Mr. Damien Riquet (Anticipatory Action Expert, FAO), Mr. Atif Khan (Program Manager, FBF German Red Cross), Mr. Naeem Iqbal (Social Protection and Resilience Specialist, FAO). The presentations focused on steps in implementing IBF and warning services; the importance of building partnerships for IBF and elements of partnerships; best practices for effective communication in disseminating IBF and reducing risks; IBF and warning services implementation process: Case study of Pakistan test pilot.

The presenters stressed the importance of informing and building the understanding of IBF and how it can result in saving lives and protecting livelihoods from adverse impacts of disasters through informed and timely action planning.

The attendees included officers from NDMA, Ministry of National Food Security & Research, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation & Coordination, SUPARCO, Geological Survey of Pakistan, PCRWR, NDRMF, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), NARC, Agriculture Extension (KP, Punjab), PDMA (KP, Sindh) and Pakistan Red Crescent. Other participants included representatives from ECHO, CEVSI, WFP, UNDP, CARE-ADPC, ICIMOD, German Red Cross, and SUNGI.