SOROTI – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Office of the Prime Minister are convening a four-day workshop to hasten timely and quality early warning bulletin production and dissemination in Karamoja, for early action.
The workshop is part of the project “Strengthening Shock Responsive Systems in Karamoja”, which is funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships (EU DG INTPA) under the Pro Resilience Action (PRO-ACT) for Uganda and DANIDA. The project aims to strengthen the capacity of the Government of Uganda to reduce, anticipate and rapidly respond to the effects of shocks while sustaining climate resilience in the Karamoja sub-region.
Early Warning System
FAO is leading the project’s component on early warning systems. The focus is on enabling national and local stakeholders to benefit from the improved capacity to generate and disseminate early warning information in a timely and accurate manner.
According to FAO’s Representative in Uganda, Dr. Antonio Querido, the FAO-led project component focuses on developing an effective government-owned and operated system that integrates capacities to forecast, monitor impact of shocks and disseminate early warning messages.
Improving the bulletin and training during the workshop, stakeholders discussed and reviewed the project’s progress to date, with focus on ameliorating the established drought early warning system that produces monthly bulletins for each of the nine districts in Karamoja. The districts in Karamoja sub-region are Abim, Amudat, Kaabong, Karenga, Kotido, Moroto, Nabilatuk, Nakapiripirit and Napak.
Furthermore, the capacity strengthening needs are validated and prioritized, building on previous work. Lastly, participants are receiving training on specific elements of bulletin production, on the use of data sources, software and data analysis.
An endorsed roadmap for further development and improvement of the early warning system as well as a draft capacity strengthening strategy are key deliverables of the workshop.
The current drought early warning system has already proved its worth to the communities, amongst others of Kaabong district. The bulletin raised alarms to warn of food insecurity threats in October 2021.
This prompted the district’s production department to prepare a detailed food security report, which was shared with the office of the Chairman LCV, who then submitted a request for relief to OPM. In response, the OPM provided relief in the form of beans and maize flour, to vulnerable communities in Kaabong. This prompt reaction and early response from the government averted a food security disaster.
“The bulletins really helped us to analyse the situation effectively, predict the deteriorating food security situation in our District and make a good case to the central government for assistance,” said Mr. Jino Meri, the Kaabong LC V Chairman.
The stakeholders participating in the workshop include the District Early Warning Focal Persons, Chairpersons of the Districts Disaster Management Committees (DDMC), representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister Department of Disaster Preparedness and Management, through the National Emergency Coordination and Operations Centre (NECOC), FAO, WFP, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) and the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA).
About the Project
The “Strengthening Shock Responsive Systems in Karamoja” (PRO-ACT) project is a collaboration between the Department of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Management of the Office of the Prime Minister, WFP and FAO, funded by the European Union Directorate-General for International Partnerships and DANIDA, targeting all nine districts of Karamoja sub-region.
Currently in its second year of implementation – FAO, working closely with WFP, DLGs, OPM and other key government ministries, departments and agencies- have established a drought early warning system at all the nine districts of the project. Additionally, district local government officials are receiving training and technical support to enhance their capacity to collect, analyse and disseminate early warning information through monthly early warning bulletins. Key messages from the bulletins are integrated in the UNIEWS- the Official Government of Uganda inter- ministerial/agencies monthly national integrated, multi-hazard early warning bulletin. The development of a Karamoja multi-hazard web portal hosted at the National Emergency Coordination and Operations Centre (NECOC) is underway; to further integrate information into national early warning infrastructure.
Feeding into national planning and budgeting processes, the project supported district local governments in Karamoja sub-region to develop and update district contingency plans, and integrate them into their annual district development plans.