The Deputy Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Ibrahim Thiaw, began an official two-day visit to Cuba.
As part of his program of activities the official visited the Institute of Meteorology (INSMET), located in the capital, where he was briefed on the work of the center in the areas of weather service and research. Abel Centella, scientific director of INSMET, gave an overview of the development of this service in Cuba since its inception in 1861 and explained that the fundamental mission of the center is to monitor and forecast extreme weather events as well as to inform the authorities, to prevent economic damage and protect the population.
The specialist said that despite the limitations due to blockage of more than 50 years, imposed by the United States to Cuba, advances like radar modernization whose technology was changed from analogical to digital were made.
A new radar costs about $ 2.8 million, said Centella, however a group of engineers in Camaguey managed to achieve the modernization of equipment dating from the 1970s and 1980s, with a value of around 25,000 dollars, he said.
He also said that there are currently 68 monitoring stations across the country and measurements are made in 11 towers.
Meanwhile, the Master of Science Herminia Serrano referred to the Cuban policy to address and reduce disaster risks.
Thiaw received brochures and books by Cuban scientists on climate change, including: Sequía en Cuba (Drought in Cuba), Transferencia tecnológica y Cambio Climático (Technology transfer and climate change) and Estudio Estudio sobre Impacto y Adaptación al cambio climático en Cuba y República Dominicana (Study on Impact and Adaptation to Climate Change in Cuba and Dominican Republic).
UNEP executive was interested in knowing how Cuba collaborates with other countries, in the framework of South-South Cooperation, in transfer of knowledge, taking into account the experience in the area of disaster response and management of natural resources, which are accessible to the entire population.
In statements to Prensa Latina he said his presence in Cuba responds to learn about the programs implemented in this archipelago to reduce the impact of climate change, combating desertification and respond to disasters, as well as to identify mechanisms to encourage cooperation.
He also commended the work done by the authorities that prioritize policies toward the environmental preservation and preparation of people to respond to the occurrence of weather events such as tropical cyclones.
The official’s agenda included a visit to the Agencia de Medio Ambiente (Environment Agency), founded on March 6, 1995 to provide scientific and technical knowledge, as well as offering expertise in natural resource management, conservation and rehabilitation of ecosystems, prevention and assessment of natural disasters, among others.
He also visited the General Staff of the Civil Defense.