Weather, climate and water-related information and services will make a cross-cutting contribution to promotion of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals. WMO will work closely with its Members and National and Meteorological and Hydrological Services to improve both the provision and use of these services and maximize their full socio-economic benefits.
The U.N. General Assembly on 26 September adopted an ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Composed of 17 goals and 169 targets, the Agenda is an essential plank in the effort to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and enhance medical and educational access over the next 15 years.
The implementation of the so-called Global Goals through 2030 represents a unique opportunity to foster development while using sustainably natural resources, protecting the environment and building more equitable and resilient societies. Among other challenges, climate change is accelerating and exacerbating extreme weather events and pressures over vital resources such as water, food and energy.
“If addressed inadequately, weather and climate extremes will jeopardize progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): poverty reduction, food security and nutrition targets, and sustainable development in all economic, social and environmental dimensions,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.
“Actions to address weather, climate and water-related disasters need to be factored in the implementation of the SDGs: investments to modernize the infrastructure, development of human resources, access to information and knowledge, and exchange of experiences. Actions that support various SDGs must also be supportive of climate mitigation efforts: the green economy, health leading to better productivity, food production, water management, and education,” said Mr Jarraud.
Amid concern that unchecked climate change could undermine all the other goals, the small island developing state of Tuvalu was selected to occupy the first seat in the General Assembly’s annual general debate which started on 28 September. The low-lying state of some 11,000 people in the South Pacific is on the frontlines of the threat posed by climate change and rising sea levels.
Immediately following the option of the Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson urged swift action on the newly-adopted Global Goals directly related to the protection and equitable use of the planet’s precious water resources.
“Worldwide, water demand is projected to grow by over 40 percent by 2050,” said the Deputy Secretary-General. “Population pressures, climate change and energy and agricultural needs have made finding sustainable solutions to water-related challenges an urgent and crucial task for ever more regions in the world.”
Mr Eliasson spoke about the importance of collaborative efforts between governments, international and regional organizations, the private sector, civil society and academic to find new ways to take action on the global water crisis. He also highlighted the work that UN-Water would be doing to provide support to ongoing efforts, and thanked WMO’s Mr Jarraud for his “excellent leadership” of UN-Water. Mr Jarraud will stand down as chair of UN-Water at the end of 2015.
At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015, the Secretary-General of WMO attended also the Interactive Dialogue “Protecting our Planet and Combatting Climate Change” (27 September). In this intervention, he emphasized that concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere broke yet another record and that 2015 was likely to be the hottest year on record. Focusing on adaptation efforts, he stressed that today nearly 70 countries, in particular least developed countries and SIDS, do not have the capabilities to generate and apply climate information. To address this gap, through the Global Framework for Climate Service, WMO and other UN and international partners are supporting countries in their efforts to transform climate knowledge into more informed decisionmaking and action on the ground.