The World Meteorological Organization’s annual Executive Council meets from 15 to 25 June, with a focus on strengthening weather and climate services to support climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to protect lives, property and the economy from increasingly extreme weather.
The outcomes of the Council will help shape the WMO contribution to the post 2015 global agenda on disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change. There will be discussions on how to promote more coordinated investments in National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, as well as partnerships between public weather services and the rapidly evolving private sector.
More specifically, the agenda includes:
- Climate services to support climate action and sustainable development
- Disaster risk reduction, resilience and prevention
- Strengthened observing and information systems
- Improving observations and understanding of Polar regions and high mountains
- Meteorological support to air navigation
- Capacity development
“The outcomes of the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, the post 2015 UN Development Agenda and the implications of a post 2020 climate agreement in Paris have greatly influenced WMO’s priorities to reduce human and economic losses through impact-based services to support smart decision-making,” said WMO President David Grimes.
The need for strong, well-funded National Meteorological and Hydrological Services is more necessary than ever given that high impact weather and climate extremes are occurring with greater frequency and intensity due to climate change, said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
“We broke many temperature records last year and have been doing so in the early parts of this year,” said Mr Taalas, who took office on 1 January 2016.
“Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations breached the symbolic 400 parts per million threshold in both the southern and northern hemisphere. We have seen intensive tropical cyclones like Winston in Fiji. Arctic sea ice has been record low, for the second year in the row. We have seen extreme rainfall such as that which caused the recent flooding in France,” said Mr Taalas.
As a follow-up to the Paris Climate Agreement, a key priority for WMO will be the development of an Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System that will allow governments to identify and closely monitor specific sources of national emissions (for instance, urban areas) in order to craft more targeted measures for limiting them. This would build on the successful WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Programme which measures atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.
WMO, which recently became the first UN body to win accreditation to the Green Climate Fund, will continue its drive to improve the provision and use of climate services like seasonal outlooks. Priority target areas are agriculture and food security, water management, health, disaster risk reduction and energy.
The Executive Council will also consider WMO’s contribution to the recently-launched Climate Resilience Early Warning System (CREWS) initiative. This seeks to improve access to early warnings of hazardous environmental conditions on all timescales for the most vulnerable.
“I am proud of our heritage and the improvements in our ability to warn and inform our citizens of weather, climate and water risks to keep them safe from harm, minimize negative impacts on their property and allow our economies to prosper,” said Mr Grimes.
The Executive Council coordinates programmes, manages the budget, considers and acts on resolutions and recommendations from the regional associations and technical commissions, and studies and makes recommendations on matters affecting international meteorology and related activities. It consists of a president, three vice-presidents, the six regional association presidents and 27 directors of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services.