WMO Congress to Set Future Direction, Priorities, Budget
Geneva, 13 May (WMO) - A proposed Global Framework for Climate Services designed to help countries – especially the most vulnerable – cope with climate variability and climate change is one of the priorities which will be discussed at the Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress which is held every four years to decide the Organization’s future directions.
Other key discussion items include: strengthening the WMO’s disaster risk reduction program in the context of increased likelihood and impact of extreme weather, climate and water-related hazards and events in a warming world with a growing population; implementing integrated and improved observation and information systems to maximize the returns on investment on surface and space infrastructure in recent years; reinforcing the aeronautical meteorology programme in view of its importance to air traffic and the need for quality assurance of these services; and capacity building programmes in developing countries to help them fully participate in WMO activities and benefit from them.
More than 600 delegates, including Heads of States and Governments, Ministers, senior government officials, heads of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, and representatives of WMO partner organizations will attend the three week meeting 16 May – 3 June. It will be officially opened 16 May by WMO President Dr Alexander Bedritskiy and Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. There will be a High Level Segment for Ministers, including a speech from H.E Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheik Hasina.
The Congress – WMO’s supreme body – brings together the representatives of the Organization’s 189 Members to determine the general policies and approve the strategic plan of WMO, elect the Officers of WMO, appoint the Secretary-General of WMO and decide on budgetary and other programme matters.
“The World Meteorological Organization is focusing its strategic direction for the period 2012–2015 on five strategic thrusts and it is committed to achieving its vision of providing world leadership in expertise and international cooperation in weather, climate, hydrology, and water resources, as well as related environmental issues. This will contribute to the safety and well-being of people throughout the world, and to economic prosperity for all countries. Utilizing the capabilities of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), WMO will focus its programmes and activities on providing the best possible services to support its Members and their efforts to address global societal needs and environmental issues,” said Dr. Bedritskiy in the President’s report to Congress.
Global Framework for Climate Services
Congress will consider a report by a High-level Taskforce presented by its co-chairs Jan Egeland and Mahmoud Abu Zeid, which recommends the establishment of a Global Framework for Climate Services to help countries manage the risks and the opportunities of climate variability and climate change. The implementation has been costed by the Taskforce at around US$ 75 million per year of which around US$ 72 million would be sourced from development partners and committed to carrying out capacity development projects in the most vulnerable countries.
This Global Framework would build on investments by governments in climate observation systems, research, and information management systems. It would yield big benefits to the community, most importantly, and most immediately, in disaster risk reduction, improved water management, more productive and sustainable agriculture and better health outcomes in the most vulnerable communities in the developing world.
Congress will discuss governance structures to lead and manage the Global Framework and immediate actions to implement it.
WMO Integrated Global Observing System
Implementation of the WMO Integrated Global Observing System, which Congress is being asked to consider, is crucial to the future of WMO. It will enable Members, in collaboration with national agencies, to meet countries’ observational requirements for improving timely advisories and early warnings on extreme weather and climate events. It will also enable them to improve weather, climate, water and related environmental monitoring and forecast services, and to adapt to and mitigate climate change. It will improve Members’ abilities to meet expanding national mandates and promote higher visibility for National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) with other agencies focused on environmental issues.
As “Our Planet’s Future Hub for Weather, Climate and Water Observations” that integrates observations from multiple platforms, WIGOS will contribute to a better understanding of our environment, paving the way for a better future for the planet in the coordinated, cost-effective and sustained manner. This is essential for meeting the observational needs of the Global Framework for Climate Services, disaster risk reduction and aeronautical meteorology, amongst others.
WMO Information System
The WMO Information System is a pillar of the WMO strategy for managing, moving and accessing weather, water and climate information in the 21st century. It will be the core information system providing linkages for all WMO and supported programmes associated with weather, climate, water, and related natural disasters. It is being built upon the Global Telecommunication System of WMO's World Weather Watch, using standard elements and at a pace feasible for all Members.
Disaster Risk Reduction
During the period 1980-2007, about 90% of disasters worldwide were caused by recurrent meteorological-, hydrological- and climate-related events such as droughts, tropical cyclones and storm surges, floods and landslides. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, the frequency and/or intensity of several hazards will increase as a result of climate change.
Congress will discuss strengthening WMO involvement in Disaster Risk Reduction activities in support of the development of national policies and legislation, and of the collaboration of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services with other disaster risk management stakeholders at national and regional levels.
The future direction of relevant WMO Programmes such as the Tropical Cyclone Programme, Public Weather Services Programme, Hydrology and Water Resources Programme as well as products such as the Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project will be discussed. These assist Members to provide and deliver services that are directed towards the protection of lives, livelihoods and property, in a cost-effective, systematic and sustainable manner. WMO promotes the importance of prevention and preparedness measures, including risk assessment, early warning systems, and sectoral planning, to reduce the impacts of weather-, climate- and water-related hazards.
The large number of major disasters in the past four years has underlined the need to seek every possible means for improving the WMO Members’ ability to prepare for, and respond to, disasters through the consolidation of lessons learnt from the recent disasters with a key contribution from operational National Meteorological and Hydrological Services.
Aviation is a vital economic driver in most countries and aeronautical meteorology is key in ensuring safe and efficient operations of the aviation industry. There is constant pressure within the aviation industry to increase the quality, content and cost-efficiency of services including those that would lead to improved safety levels.
Congress will consider reinforcing the WMO Aeronautical Meteorology Programme as a “high-priority programme that should be suitably resourced, thus enabling it to address the requirements of aviation stakeholders.”
The proposal urges all Members to collaborate actively in the implementation of the Aeronautical Meteorology Programme, in particular quality management systems, by making time and expertise of their staff available for the work of expert teams, including WMO’s Regional Associations to maintain the capability of their National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to deliver the regulatory aeronautical services worldwide.
Capacity-building activities are essential in almost all WMO programmes. Congress will discuss a coordinated and cohesive approach for capacity development to enhance capabilities of NMHSs in developing countries, in particular in the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, in areas including resource mobilization efforts, management and institutional change processes and education and training.
Notes for Editors:
The Congress takes place at the Centre International de Conférences de Genève.
The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s
authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water
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