The World Bank (WB) Board of Directors approved a US$105.26 million loan today to strengthen the National Meteorological Service (SMN, in Spanish) which aims to better respond to a growing demand for reliable weather information to improve water management resources and disaster risk management in a climate change context.
The SMN modernization plan includes activities such as institutional redesign, human resource recruitment and training, the installation of modernized infrastructure and improvements in the climate modeling tools used to generate weather forecasts and alerts.
The very uneven seasonal and spatial distribution of water in Mexico, exacerbated by a weather variability that alters water accumulation and runoff patterns, reveals the importance of increasing monitoring and projection capacities of hydrometeorological events.
“Modernizing the SMN forms part of the Federal Government’s efforts to adapt to climate change, a global phenomenon that is generating serious challenges for Mexico, such as increasingly longer drought periods, as well as increasingly severe cyclones and hurricanes,” said Jose Luis Luege Tamargo, General Director of the National Water Commission (CONAGUA).
It is expected that improvements to the early warning systems for hydrometeorological disaster risk management will generate significant benefits to vulnerable populations, such as small-scale farmers and inhabitants from marginal neighborhoods located in more vulnerable areas.
Indirectly, the initiative will have a positive effect in the reduction of poverty and inequality, as it will help increase the country’s productivity and competitiveness in general.
“Once again, Mexico shows its commitment in terms of adaptation and mitigation to climate change by recognizing that adequate weather information constitutes an essential economic value,” said Gloria M. Grandolini, World Bank Director for Mexico and Colombia.
Some of the concrete objectives of this project include:
- Increasing the accuracy of weather forecasts by 80 percent.
- Increasing the amount of weather information generated by the SMN by 95 percent, allowing it to form part of international monitoring systems.
- Implementing an evaluation system to measure the SMN’s service quality.
The strategic partnership between Mexico and the World Bank on climate change started in the mid-1990s and contemplates a comprehensive program of financial, knowledge and convening services. As of today, the program includes 35 initiatives between loans, grants, reduction of GHG emissions-certificates and other financial instruments. In particular, this operation will be accompanied by knowledge and coordination services established in a technical consultancy program.
The responsible organization for the implementation of this loan is CONAGUA, with the participation of the SMN, which in turn has designated the National Savings and Financial Services Bank (BANSEFI, in Spanish) as its financial agent.
The project will cost US$170.96 million in total, US$66 million of which will come from the government and US$105.26 million will be financed by the World Bank. This loan has a variable interest rate and margin, and the maturity date iss on October 15th, 2024 and includes a 12 year grace period.
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