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On June 18, the Global Humanitarian Forum and its President, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, together with its partners announced an essential humanitarian endeavor and innovative public-private partnership scheme:  the “Weather Info for All” Initiative.

The event was held at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, in Geneva, Switzerland and was attended by a number of personalities who presented the rationale for this Initiative and its benefits for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable to climate change.

At this occasion, the Forum’s President, Kofi Annan, declared that ““The world’s poorest are also the world’s most vulnerable when it comes to the impact of climate change, and the least equipped to deal with its consequences. Today you find cell phone towers in almost every part of Africa. We have never been able to establish weather monitoring on that scale, until now.”

Also present at the launch were: Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the WMO, Carl-Henric Svanberg, CEO of Ericsson, Lord Simon Cairns, Chairman of Zain Africa, as well as Margareta Wahlström, UN Assistant Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction.


Climate change has altered weather patterns making traditional knowledge unreliable.

This is preventing farmers, fishermen, health workers, government agencies and other stakeholders to make informed decisions. Aggravating the problem, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) estimates that Africa’s weather observation network is eight times below the minimum recommended level.

Acknowledging this situation, the Global Humanitarian Forum initiated the Weather Info for All project together with partners to provide a pan-African solution for climate change adaptation. Harnessing on the opportunities brought by the development of mobile communication in Africa, partners to the Initiative will install up to 5,000 automatic weather stations at new and existing mobile network sites throughout Africa and reinforce the capacity of the national meteorological services to generate accurate weather forecasts and early warnings.

The data collected by these stations will be analyzed by national meteorological services and transformed into weather forecasts and early warnings distributed to end-users who need it most – farmers, fishermen, rural, and urban communities via a suitable telecoms bearer, for example, SMS.


Automatic weather stations use sensors to take measurements of a variety of meteorological parameters. Automatic weather stations deployed for the Initiative conform to WMO specifications. These units are robust and able to withstand various environmental conditions, yet are economical to operate, calibrate and maintain. They are run on state of the art proprietary software able to handle the reporting of a large network of weather stations and able to detect faulty sensors remotely in real time.
Among other things, automatic weather stations monitor:
  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Wind Speed and direction
  • Precipitation
  • Sunshine and radiation


The Forum has brought together a unique group of partners to realize the Weather Info for All Initiative:

  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO) - Official United Nations' authoritative voice on weather, climate and water, scientific organization.
  • Ericsson – The world's leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. The market leader in 2G and 3G mobile technologies, Ericsson supplies communications services and manages networks that serve more than 250 million subscribers.
  • Zain – The pioneer of mobile telecommunications in the Middle East and a major player on the African continent.
  • Earth Institute at Columbia University – The Earth Institute, established at Columbia University, is a research institute focused on solving complex issues in sustainable development and the needs of the world's poor.

Service providers include:

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