The work of the WMO is guided by strategic and operational plans that are adopted every four years. The 2020–2023 Strategic Plan will be adopted by the Eighteenth World Meteorological Congress in June 2019. In 2015, the Seventeenth Congress “requested the Executive Council to continue to introduce specific measures for improvement of WMO processes and practices and also to undertake a holistic review of the Organization, including its processes and working practices, in implementing the Strategic Plan 2016–2019.”
In addition to Congress, which is the ultimate decision-making body of WMO, the WMO governance structure currently includes the Executive Council, six Regional Associations (RAs), and eight Technical Commissions (TCs). As per the request of Congress, the review will address the overall structure of this group of bodies as well as the composition of each one’s membership. This will include the politically sensitive issue of EC membership (including the number and distribution of seats and the schedule for rotation of members). The review may also address other concerns, such as coordination among bodies, the role of WMO regional offices, and the perception that meetings and costs have proliferated. Any reform will require a smooth transition that does not disrupt ongoing business.
“Congress requested the Executive Council to provide recommendations to the Eighteenth Congress on constituent body constructs, as appropriate, including possible new structures for TCs, RAs, EC, and also to provide recommendations on rules, procedures, processes, working mechanisms, and duties, of constituent bodies, WMO Officers (President, vice presidents, PRAs [Presidents of Regional Associations] and PTCs [Presidents of Technical Commissions]) and the relationship between them and the WMO Secretariat to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the Organization and good governance.”