The Finnish Meteorological Institute has launched a cooperation project in Central Asia. The project aims to strengthen the capacity and cooperation of the hydrometeorological institutes of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Photo: Ljubov Nevvonen. From the left: Project Manager Irma Ylikangas of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Director General Victor Evgenyevich Chub of Uzhydromet, and Finnish Ambassador to Uzbekistan Tuula Yrjölä.
Central Asia is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. Weather conditions wreak damage repeatedly. In mountainous areas, heavy rains cause unpredictable and very challenging landslides, avalanches and floods. For instance, this year a city of 20,000 inhabitants had to be evacuated because of floods in Uzbekistan.
The project aims to increase know-how among the hydrometeorological institutes of all five countries and to raise preparedness for weather-related natural disasters, which will become more frequent because of climate change. Efficient weather and climate services help to manage the adverse effects of climate change and extreme weather events on the economy and human life. In addition, the cooperation partners in Uzbekistan are assisted in modernising their institute and revising its development strategy.
For the official project kick-off, Tuula Yrjölä, Finnish Ambassador to Uzbekistan, gave a reception in Tashkent on 24 February 2012. The project’s first important regional event will take place on 3 and 4 May, when the Directors General and experts of the five Central Asian countries’ hydrometeorological institutes will visit Helsinki at the invitation of the Finnish Meteorological Institute. A workshop will be arranged on the development needs of the national hydrometeorological institutes and on regional cooperation. The regional component also includes the modernisation of the weather observation equipment at a training centre in Tashkent, which will serve as the site for a pilot project where training will also be offered to meteorological personnel from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. The training centre is recognised as one of the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Regional Training Centres. WMO has recognised more than 20 Regional Training Center all around the world.
The project will continue until the end of 2013. Funds will be received from the development cooperation appropriations of the Unit for Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The project is implemented utilising the Institutional Cooperation Instrument (ICI) and as part of the Wider European Initiative (WEI) framework programme supported by Finland. The programme reinforces the efforts of countries in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia in the sectors of democracy, rule of law, human rights, comprehensive security and the environment. The initiative emphasises regional prevention of conflicts, support for peace processes and environmental cooperation.
The ICI promotes direct cooperation between government actors in Finland and in partner countries. The aim is to strengthen the know-how of government agencies and institutes in developing countries.
At present, the Finnish Meteorological Institute carries out regional ICI projects with Caribbean island states and bilateral ICI projects in Peru, Vietnam, Nepal and Sudan. Apart from ICI projects, other projects are underway in Latvia, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Pacific islands, Macedonia, Kosovo, Russia and China.
Finnish Meteorological Institute, Consulting Services:
Irma Ylikangas, FINUZ Project Manager, tel. +358 40 749 7132
Ministry for Foreign Affairs: Sirpa Rajasärkkä, Programme Officer, tel. +358 9160 55698
Institutional Cooperation Instrument (ICI): http://formin.finland.fi/Public/default.aspx?nodeid=40157&contentlan=1&culture=fi-FI
Wider Europe Initiative http://formin.finland.fi/public/default.aspx?contentid=237470&nodeid=15452&contentlan=2&culture=en-US
Finnish Meteorological Institute’s expert services: http://en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/international-consulting-services