The Department of Water Resources under the Ministry of Fisheries Water Resources and National Assembly Matters recently held a graduation ceremony for the 1st and 2nd intakes of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Middle Level Meteorological Technician course.
The ceremony was held at the Department of Water Resources Training School in Yundum and was conducted by lecturers from WMO Regional Meteorological Training Centre in Lagos, Nigeria.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, James F.P Gomez, Minister of Fisheries Water Resources and National Assembly Matters said that the challenge of improving the resilience of communities to climate vulnerabilities, risks and disasters is a key element in the strategies while adding that the solutions envisioned by the Government of The Gambia, as stated in the National Development Plan (NDP) as well as in both the Agriculture & Natural Resources and National Climate Change Policies.
“While the answer seems to be the existence of dedicated structures with an organizational system, the provision of adapted sectoral services to cope with extreme weather and climate risks is becoming increasingly important,” Hon. Gomez emphasised.
Though he further unveiled that the significant progress have been made through the support of WMO, the GOTG and other partners, stating that It is important to highlight the challenges that the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) of The Gambia is currently confronted with, which ranges from technical capacity, lack of adequate data collection equipment, transmission and management of the data among others.
“On behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of The Gambia, I once again extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Government of Federal Republic of Nigeria for the bi-lateral assistance it has been rendering in many ways to help improve the standard of the Meteorological services in The Gambia,” he stated.
For his part Senator Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, Federal Republic of Nigeria, commended the Government of The Gambia for taking the initiative to conceive and develop the idea that led to this important graduation ceremony while thanking the Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources for making excellent arrangements to ensure the success of this capacity development initiative.
“Regional Training Centres (RTC) Nigeria has evolved over the years, it began in 1957 as a National Meteorological Training School in Lagos, for the purpose of training Class IV Meteorological Technicians,” Senator Hadi Sirika revealed.
He added that in 1964, a Regional Meteorological Training Centre (RMTC) was established, also in Lagos, to train Class III and Class II Meteorological Technicians. By 1975, both training Centres were merged and designated as Meteorological Research and Training Institute (MRTI) to train Classes IV, III and II technicians, which is now referred to as the Basic Instructional Package for Meteorological Technicians (BIP-MT).
In 1994, Senator Sirika explained that the Department of Meteorology (now Department of Meteorology and Climate Science) at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria was also designated as the University component of the RMTC in Nigeria and recognized as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Regional Training Centre for the West African Countries’ sub-region.
Also speaking at the graduation ceremony, Lamin Mai Touray, Director, Department of Water Resources expressed gratitude to be part of the important milestone in the implementation of the World Meteorological Organization recommended South-South capacity development cooperation.
He stated that both the Department of Water Resources and Nigerian Meteorological Agency are desirous of working together in building the capacities of The Gambian personnel to promote activities relating to meteorology and climate change adaptation and planning.
WMO has been emphasizing on South-South Capacity Development instead of relying on North-South alone for assistance. This implies that Countries in the South-South which have the means should assist others in whichever way possible.
Vessel owners and agents operating in Gambian waters are urged to register their vessels and get certified