by Zamira Eshmambetova
at the WMO Coordination and Capacity Building Workshop
for the Least Developed Countries in Africa
Entebbe, Uganda, 10-12 September 2007
Honourable Minister,
Ladies and gentleman,
At the outset, I would like to thank the Government of Uganda for its hospitality and warm reception in Entebbe. I would also like to commend the World Meteorological Organization for organizing this wonderful workshop which brings together the Heads of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and the Heads of the National Focal Points of the African LDCs.
Mr. Diarra, the new High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States asked me to convey to all of you his warmest regards and his best wishes of the successful outcome of the workshop. He sincerely regrets that due to a number of urgent matters he is unable to attend it in person but he is confident that the workshop will achieve its key objectives:
         promoting better understanding of the contribution of weather-, climate- and water-related services to the socio-economic development of LDCs, particularly in the areas of poverty reduction, disaster risk management, environmental protection, agriculture and food security, health and water resources management;
         facilitating exchange of best practices and lessons learned in the effective use of meteorological and hydrological information, products and services in the socio-economic development of the LDCs; and
         establishing strategic partnership at the national and regional level.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Programme of Action of the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 provides with a framework of global partnership for achieving sustainable development in the LDCs and their beneficial integration in the world economy. It aims at making “substantial progress toward halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and suffering from hunger by 2015” through accelerated, sustained and inclusive growth.
Achieving these objectives depends, to a great extent, on the progress on internationally agreed goals and targets and the fulfillment of all mutual commitments based on the shared but differentiated responsibilities of the LDCs and their development partners.
Recent review of the implementation of the Programme of Action by the high-level meeting of the sixty-first session of the General Assembly in 2006 has shown that despite some progress, “the overall socio-economic situation in the LDCs remains precarious” and given the current trends “many LDCs are unlikely to achieve the goals and objectives of the Programme”.
According to the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Programme of Action, sustainable development in the LDCs is constrained by many factors (structural difficulties of their economies, weak capacities for growth, inadequate infrastructure, unsustainable external debt, high vulnerability to external shocks and natural disasters, high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, etc.) which are aggravated by environmental degradation, high population growth and rapid urbanization. Climate change has emerged as a new challenge for sustainable development of LDCs, in particular those in Africa which are dependent on rain-fed agriculture and exploitation of natural resources.
In light of the above, the importance of meteorological and hydrological information, products and services in the implementation of the Brussels Programme and achieving its goals and objectives cannot be underestimated.  Particularly important are their applications to commitments 3, 4, and 6 of the Programme related to food security, health, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, land and water management, transport and tourism, environment protection and disaster risk management.  Hence, the integrating of improved meteorological and hydrological service delivery in national development strategies of the LDCs is of paramount importance for the implementation of Programme of Action and achieving is goals and objectives.
This workshop provides with a unique opportunity for the National Focal Points and the Heads of National Meteorological Services not only to discuss all aspects of the weather-, climate- and water services in the socio-economic development of LDCs but also identify ways and means of improving their delivery and strengthen strategic partnership at the national and regional levels for poverty reduction and sustainable development of the LDCs.
I wish you all fruitful deliberations and productive work and am looking forward to the meaningful outcome of this workshop.
Thank you.