Finland pledges support to CARICOM for improved weather forecasting

Source(s)
Caribbean Community Secretariat

Guyana - The newly accredited Ambassador of Finland to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) H.E. Mikko Pyhälä has pledged his country’s support in building the Region’s resilience to natural disasters through the development of technologies that could provide 'real time data' of impending hurricanes and floods.

In his remarks at the Ceremony for the Presentation of his Credentials on 1 June at the Headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana, the Ambassador said that Finland was making “unprecedented efforts” to forge closer alliances with the Caribbean, noting that it was willing to provide greater assistance in capacity building as well as equipment and software to advance developments in the area of meteorology.

“Weather services in the Caribbean have served air transport, but needs exist in agriculture, tourism, navigation, and in disaster prevention. There is need for precise and ‘real time’ information especially since hurricanes have become more frequent in island states,” the Ambassador said.

In an effort to build capacity for disaster preparedness, he said Finland had plans to introduce automatic weather forecasting technology with internet-friendly applications in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

“If there was real time weather forecasting, the media and authorities can say, with precision, where hurricanes will hit and when.”

He noted that Finland was in the process of aggregating useful satellite weather data but in order for it to have relevance to CARICOM countries it must be calibrated with existing weather and topographical data which were available in digitised form, mostly in Guyana.

With the majority of Guyana’s population concentrated on the coastline which is below sea level, the Ambassador said his country was interested in introducing flood forecasting technology there.

“Guyana, more than any other country in the Western Hemisphere is at great risk for flooding and Finland has the technology which could help.” Mr. Pyhälä said he would seek to discuss this possibility with international aids agencies and national authorities in Guyana towards its implementation.

With regard to cooperation in the education sector, he said his government was considering an offer to hold consultations in the Caribbean on best practices in education, given Finland’s successes in reading, calculus and science.

“We could tell of our experience,” he said adding that his country was also interested in fostering greater cultural exchanges through tourism.

With regard to support in the energy sector, Mr. Pyhälä said Finland wanted to pursue an Environment Energy Partnership with CARICOM, similar to one which it has with the Central American Integration System (SICA) that involves the implementation of “environmentally benign energy solutions.”

In respect of Finland’s support of efforts to protect the Caribbean Sea as a special marine environment, the Ambassador stated his government will be facilitating an expert consultation on the governance of the Caribbean Sea, in collaboration with the Caribbean Sea Commission and the Association of Caribbean States, 7-9 July in Barbados.

Contact: piu@caricom.org

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