Friday, May 1, 2009

Africa to monitor climate change

Addis Ababa - The African Union (AU) on Wednesday launched a satellite receiving station to track the effects of climate change on the world's poorest continent.

The station, the first of its kind, is named AU-African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development and will receive data from the European satellite agency EUMETSAT at the bloc's headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.

"The programme helps to facilitate better dissemination of environment information for improved decision-making processes, and development of coherent and sound policies across a wide spectrum in the field of environment," AU chief Jean Ping said in a speech delivered during the station's inauguration.

Scientists recently warned that Africa faces an inevitable repetition of "mega-droughts", severe droughts that could last several decades and sometimes centuries due to unfavourable climate conditions.

They also say that Africa, despite being the continent least responsible for climate change, is set to be the one suffering the most from its consequences.

The Addis Ababa-based station "is financed by the European Union (EU) with the general objective of enhancing environmental monitoring for preparedness and adaptation as well as management of the African environment thereby contributing to poverty alleviation", the AU said.