By Obegi Malack
The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) renewable energy powered facility in Ngong, Kajiado North constituency has been opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
ICPAC is a designated regional climate center by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) meant to provide climate services and early warnings to11 Eastern African countries.
Speaking during the virtual opening, President Uhuru said there has been increasing temperatures and sea levels, changing precipitation patterns and extreme weather that threatens human health and safety, food and water security as well as socio economic development in Africa.
‘Despite Africa being responsible for a negligible amount of total greenhouse gas emissions, it is under significant threat from climate change,’ said the president.
ICPAC champions for innovation in earth monitoring systems, open data access and multi-hazards early warning systems.
As such, the opening of the situation room follows the launch of East Africa Hazards Watch in July. The first of its kind system in Africa was developed by ICPAC to meet the growing need for public and cross-border risk information due to increasing climate extremes.
A Disaster Operations Center was also established. Inside the centre, there will be a situation room that will monitor major hazards and provide regional early warnings for drought, floods, extreme rainfall, food insecurity or pests like the desert locust.
It also allows for the tracking of climate hazards that increase frequency and intensity due to climate change.
Workneh Gebeyehu, IGAD’s Executive Secretary said the impact of climate change will cost humans not just their health but also their homes as the human race.
“We do not have a spare planet in which we will seek refuge once we have destroyed this one.” said Workneh.
Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko challenged Kenyans to plant more trees to protect the environment.
He led environmentalists and residents in planting 200 trees.
Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Raychelle Omamo said the opening of ICPAC is a milestone for the African continent.
‘It’s very visionary that IGAD member states came together in the name of development. We also have the understanding that we are a climate challenged region, a water-stressed zone, a zone of food insecurity and resource-based conflicts.” said Omamo.