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|Guyana looking to boost its hydromet capabilities|
|Monday, 19 March 2012 22:53|
…to be better able to meet challenges of unpredictable weather patterns
THE Agriculture Ministry is looking at strengthening partnerships regionally and internationally to improve its hydrometeorological works and services.
And so, yesterday, stakeholders met with Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy at the ministry to discuss ways of achieving this. Guyana will be working through a project called SHOCS- Strengthening Hydromet Operations and Services in the Caribbean.
SHOCS aims at reducing disaster risks and increasing the resilience of small developing countries against hydrometeorological hazards and climate change impacts.
Dr Ramsammy, speaking to the stakeholders, said that Guyana has been making continuous efforts to strengthen areas in hydrometeorology where shortcomings have been identified, and to change the paradigm of the way things are done.
He said for far too long, countries have been neglecting their responsibilities of placing hydrometeorology at the top of their list of priorities.
“In the short period that I have been Minster of Agriculture, I have been speaking about placing hydromet high on our development agenda, and one of the mistakes that we have made in the past is not investing enough in this area.”
Minster Ramsammy observed that Guyana has been affected on a number of occasions by weather events that have had major negative impacts on the country’s development.
He said because of these incorrect approaches, Guyana has lost much.
The minister outlined some of the major setbacks that have been caused by the constantly changing weather pattern, and noted that Guyana is ready to move in the direction of modernisation.
Turning his attention to the most recent setback in the sugar industry, due to the inclement weather, he noted that the livelihoods of many have been affected.
“Indeed, operations at several sugar estates were virtually closed down because of the inclement weather; these are not disasters by any stretch of imagination; but they are weather events that have major impacts on Guyana’s economic performance, and its profile, and affects the livelihood of many persons.”
He recalled years when drought affected Guyana in the late nineties, and the flooding in the first decade of the new century, all of which wreaked havoc with the country’s GDP growth.
According to Minister Ramsammy, it took the country years to recover from these disasters, and the farmers were the ones most affected.
He said the country will now be re-examining its works and see where shortcoming are, and move towards developing an effective hydrometeoro logical body.
He explained that Hydrometer logical services is not only about what the weather will be like today or tomorrow, but will be looking at long term forecasting and putting steps in place to deal with the challenges before the fact.
How well Guyana does this will determine how prepared its met services are to avert negative impacts of weather patterns that are becoming more and more unpredictable.
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