Contributed by: Angelica Barlis

For the first time, the Climate and Agro-meteorology Division (CAmD) of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) is hosting an international advanced training event that is receiving participants from meteorological offices from the neighborhood countries of Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. 

A collaboration between two international projects has allowed organizing the important training that will improve climate forecast capacity, give visibility and empower the staff of the DMH and of other countries from the 7th until the 9th of May 2019. The first organizing project is the “Strengthening Agro-climatic Monitoring and Information Systems (SAMIS) to improve adaptation to climate change and food security in Lao PDR” (that is available online at the web page http://www.fao.org/in-action/samis/en/) managed by FAO and financed by GEF is hosting the training. The second regional project that is supporting the participation of trainers and National Hydro-Meteorological Services (NHMS) from abroad is the “Applying seasonal climate forecasting and innovative insurance solutions to climate risk management in the agriculture sector in SE Asia” otherwise known as De-RISK SE Asia. The project, implemented by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) together with International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is financed by the International Climate Initiative of German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (IKI-BMU) and the project web page is https://bit.ly/2J5rJxr .

For Lao PDR, the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) of MONRE and the National Agricultural and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) will be trained in advanced methodologies for climate predictions. The trainers will include experts from USQ in Australia.

“We welcome you to this important training and ask you to please try to work as hard as possible to learn all this important systems and try to build strong collaborations and networks that will help improving all the systems in the entire region,” said the DMH Director General Mr. Khanmany Khounphonh while receiving the participants.

The FAO Representative to Lao PDR Mr. Nasar Hayat is also present during the official opening of the training. He emphasized that countries like Lao PDR has insignificant contribution to climate change but largely affected by the effects of it. “The way forward is to build a capacity in order to act in a manner that is climate-smart and climate-adaptive,” he highlighted in his speech.

Dr. Pablo Imbach, Climate and Ecosystems Scientist of CIAT and Project Leader of De-RISK SE Asia explained that the project aims to build a network that integrates both climate modelling and forecasting with partners working for agriculture with the goal of improving the resilience of smallholder farmers.

In the same framework, the SAMIS project that is about to launch the online system and mobile phone application called Laos Climate Service for Agriculture (LaCSA) that will distribute weather and crop information to farmers on near real-time. The LaCSA system will be first presented on the 7th of May 2019 at the Monsoon Forum, organized simultaneously by DMH with the participation of experts from the EPINET company of the Seoul National University in South Korea that have developed the modelling and IT part of the system.

The LaCSA system, one of the most innovative systems in Asia, will be launched at the end of May 2019 and will enable farmers to have more stable production in the face of climate vagaries, to improve food security and to sustainably increase the production in Lao PDR. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is contributing to the distribution of information to farmers at local level. The Ministry of Agriculture Department of Agricultural Land Management (DALAM) will start using the online tool for the next rice season in the five provinces, including Luang Namtha, Savannakhet, Vientiane Province, Saravanh and Champasakh.

Mr. Nasar Hayat, FAO Representative to Lao PDR, Mr. Khanmany Khounphonh, Director General of DMH and Dr. Pablo Imbach, CIAT Climate and Ecosystems Scientist and De-RISK SE Asia Project Leader during the official opening of the training (Photo by: A.Barlis)

Professor Roger Stone, President of WMO Commission for Agricultural Meteorology and Director of Center for Applied Climate Sciences of USQ explains the training objectives and overview. (Photo by V.Phothiyalay)

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