SWFP-Southern Africa

Beneficiary Countries:

16 countries in Southern Africa: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Regional SWF Centre:

Other Regional Centres:

Global Centres/WMCs:

Main Focus:

Heavy rain, strong winds, large waves, dry spells, severe thunderstorms

Development planning inception:


Present Status:

Phase-IV (sustain operations and continue further developments) (since January 2012)

Download: Regional Subprogramme Implementation Plan (RSIP)

SWFP implementation in Southern Africa

The SWFP was started as a 'severe weather forecasting demonstration project (SWFDP)'  in 2006 with involvement of five countries in southeast Africa to efficiently implement 'cascading forecasting process' with contributions from advanced global NWP centres and RSMCs. This was the first ever regional demonstration project of its kind. The success story of this subproject provided basis for expansion of initiative into whole Southern Africa in 2009 and into other sub-regions of the world later, including South Pacific, Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia and Bay of Bengal.  

The (kick-off) Technical Planning Meeting of SWFDP regional subproject in RA I (Africa) and a Preparatory Training session for the subproject were held at RSMC, Pretoria in July/August and in October/November, 2006 respectively. The demonstration phase of the subproject was started in November 2006 with participation of Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, United Republic of Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, and with contributions from RSMC Pretoria (South Africa) and RSMC La Réunion as lead regional centre for SWFDP and for tropical cyclone forecast support respectively. The subproject mainly focuses on heavy precipitation, strong winds and damaging waves. The contributing global centres are ECMWF, UK Met Office and NOAA/NCEP (USA) for NWP products and EUMETSAT for satellite information.  The subproject management/implementation team met in Maputo, Mozambique during February/March, 2007 to review the progress and update the Regional Subproject Implementation Plan (RSIP).

The Extraordinary Session of Commission for Basic Systems (CBS, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 9-16 November, 2006) noted the progress of the SWFDP and also established a Steering Group on SWFDP for developing overall project plan and to provide guidance to SWFDP regional subprojects. The CBS recommended that SWFDP should include the involvement of Disaster Management and Civil Protection Authorities (DMCPAs) to improve the delivery of severe weather warning services. Regarding this aspect, collaboration with the PWS and DRR programmes is encouraged. Regarding this aspect, collaboration with the PWS and DRR programmes is encouraged. 

The CBS agreed that the identification and development of case studies, with participation by the relevant centres, is a high priority within the project.


Noting the significant development and progress of the SWFDP, from concepts to the first SWFDP regional subproject in southeast Africa, Fifteenth Session of World Meteorological Congress (Cg-XV, 2007) decided that its concept  should be expanded and implemented throughout RA I and to other WMO Regions especially in developing countries. In that regard, Cg-XV requested the CBS to consider the possibility of implementing similar projects in Africa and the South Pacific Islands.

In 2008, based on successful one-year demonstration of SWFDP in southeast Africa, the Meteorological Association of Southern Africa (MASA), a subsidiary group in Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), proposed on behalf its members to WMO that the SWFDP be sustained and expanded to include the NMHSs of its members. With the agreement of the WMO Centres that provided daily guidance products in the demonstration project to maintain their support, the EC-60 (18-27 June, 2008) suggested a transition of the demonstration project to an operational state and the inclusion of the NMHSs of the MASA (SADC members) in view of the significant benefits, for example as expressed at Cg-XV. In that connection, the EC-60 (June 2008) also agreed to continue to explore the possibilities of setting up similar demonstration projects in other WMO Regions. Subsequently, the SWFDP in Southern Africa was expanded to all 16 countries in the sub-region (also SADC Member States). During 2009-2011, the subproject evaluation and demonstration continues with participation of all 16 countries and with contributions from global and regional centres

Transition to Phase IV (sustain operations and continue development)

The regional technical implementation team (RTIT) of SWFDP-Southern Africa, in July 2011, reviewed the progress and implementation plan including subproject evaluation against its goals and objectives and its benefits to the NMHSs in improving severe weather forecasting and providing alerts and warnings for hydrometeorological hazards. The RTIT, viewing the future of the subproject involving its transition to Phase-IV and including shift of management under WMO/CBS to within the WMO Regional Association I (Africa), wished to encourage MASA, i.e. its NMHS members, to support the future activities of SWFDP – Southern Africa. The RTIT also suggested for development of new project implementation plan to be referred as “Regional Phase 4 Implementation Plan (“RP4IP”). The SWFDP should seek collaboration and build synergies with other relevant programmes and activities, including Southern Africa Region Flash Flood Guidance System (SARFFGS), and tapping on promising research outcomes, or legacies of regional research field campaigns, such as GIFS-TIGGE. Currently, SARFFGS involves nine countries including Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The RTIT also suggested several recommendations for improvement in the implementation of the PWS component in the next phase of the subproject, including importance of developing SOPs for the internal operations of NMHSs as well as for working with media and DMCPAs. Subsequently, in January 2012 MASA took overall responsibility to oversee the subproject with support from RTIT.

In later years, satellite based and NWP embedded Nowcasting products were developed and made available to the NMHSs for the prediction of severe thunderstorms and hailstorms. The twinning of SWFDP-Southern Africa with SARFFGS was carried out during 2014-2016 with funding through USAID/OFDA.

The Eighteenth WM Congress (Cg-18, June 2019) through its Resolution 15 (Cg-18) decided among others to remove the 'demonstration' designation of the SWFDP and renamed it as Severe Weather Forecasting Programme (SWFP). Subsequently, the SWFDP-Southern Africa also became SWFP-Southern Africa and the RTIT became Regional Subprogramme Management Team (RSMT). The SWFP-Southern Africa has been able to sustain its operations and continue further developments with contributions from participating global and regional centres and support from development partners and donors. Eventually, SWFP-Southern Africa aims to provide operational support for Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS) in the region.


SWFP-Southern Africa: Activities & Milestones since 2006



  • Meeting of the RSMT of SWFP-Southern Africa (ONLINE, 4 August 2020) (Meeting Report)


  • Eighteenth WM Congress (Cg-18, June 2019) through its Resolution 15 (Cg-18) decided among others to remove the 'demonstration' designation of the SWFDP and renamed it as Severe Weather Forecasting Programme (SWFP). Subsequently, the SWFDP-Southern Africa became SWFP-Southern Africa and the RTIT became Regional Subprogramme Management Team (RSMT)


  • SWFDP-Southern Africa & SARFFGS Training Workshop (FFGS, GDPFS & PWS) (Pretoria, 24 October -4 November, 2016) including: 3-day training (24-26 October 2016) on SARFFGS with participation of operational forecasters and hydrologists; 3-day training (27-29 October 2016) on severe weather forecasting (GDPFS) with participation of operational forecasters only; one-week training (31 October - 4 November 2016) on delivery of warning services (PWS) with participation of operational forecasters and disaster managers


  • SWFDP-Southern Africa Training Workshop (FFGS, GDPFS & PWS) (Pretoria, 9-20 November 2015)


  • Twinning of SWFDP-Southern Africa and Southern Africa Flash Flood Forecast Guidance System (SARFFGS) was initiated through USAID funded project
  • RSMC Training Desk (Pretoria, 20-31 October 2014) with attachment of two forecasters from Lesotho and Swaziland (now Eswatini)
  • SARFFGS training for 7 countries (Pretoria, 29-31 October 2014)
  • SWFDP-Southern Africa Training Workshop (GDPFS & PWS) (Pretoria, 3-14 November 2014)


  • Meeting of RTIT (Pretoria, 23-27 September 2013) to discuss and review RSIP for Phase IV (Meeting Report)
  • SWFDP-Southern Africa Training Workshop (GDPFS & PWS) (Pretoria, 11-22 November 2013)
  • RSMC Training Desk (Pretoria, 28 October-8 November 2013) with attachment of two forecasters from Malawi and Mozambique 


  • From January 2012, SWFDP-Southern Africa entered Phase IV (long-term sustainability & future development) with overall management of the subproject by the Meteorological Association of Southern Africa (MASA), a subsidiary body of Southern African Development Community (SADC)
  • Two-week SWFDP Training Workshop (GDPFS/PWS) (Pretoria, 12-23 November 2012)


  • Meeting of RTIT (Flic-en-Flac, Mauritius, 10-22 July 2011) to review progress and discuss transition of the subproject into operations (Phase-IV) (Meeting Report)


  • SWFDP-Southern Africa Training Workshop (GDPFS & PWS) (Pretoria, 26 October -6 November 2009)
  • Meeting of RTIT (formerly RSMT) (Pretoria, 24-27 February 2009) to review progress and assess the subproject (Meeting Report)


  • After evaluation of the subproject demonstration, the subproject was expanded to benefit 16 countries in Southern Africa (which are also members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC))
  • SWFDP-Southern Africa Training Workshop (GDPFS & PWS) (Pretoria, 10-21 November 2008)


  • SWFDP Training Workshop (GDPFS & PWS) (Pretoria, 29 October – 9 November 2007)
  • Meeting of RSMT (Maputo, 27 February -2 March 2007) to review the progress and update the RSIP (Meeting Report)


  • Start of Demonstration phase in November 2006 and launch of RSMC, Pretoria web portal
  • Preparatory Training on SWFDP (Pretoria, 31 October-3 November 2006) with participation of Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe
  • The (kick-off) Planning Meeting of SWFDP Regional Subproject in RA I (Africa) (Pretoria, 31 July-3 August 2006) to prepare outline of Regional Subproject Implementation Plan (RSIP) (Meeting Report)