New Swiss government funding will enable the World Meteorological Organization to provide United Nations agencies and humanitarian actors with new services for optimising emergency response, especially in the event of tropical cyclones or flooding in developing countries.
Weather, climate and water-related hazards often lead to major disasters. Early warning systems enable authorities, non-governmental organisations and affected residents to take targeted measures to protect themselves against the threat of extreme events, but access to reliable meteorological services and information is often difficult in developing and emerging countries.
The World Meteorological Congress, at its quadrennial session in 2019, adopted a resolution to develop a coordination mechanism aiming at enhancing the provision of authoritative information, including expert advice, to the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies to meet rising demand
These services are to be provided before, during and after emergencies and disasters caused by weather events with a view to assisting response and relief efforts.
Switzerland is contributing CHF 4.7 million to the establishment and implementation of the coordination centre as part of the pilot phase. This will enable the collection of authoritative data and information from WMO’s network of national weather services, specialist regional weather centres and regional offices, and the development of bespoke products and services for onward distribution to humanitarian agencies both centrally and through national weather services.
The Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs (represented by MeteoSwiss) and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (represented by SDC) are providing the required technical and specialist resources. The financing arrangements will be reviewed upon the conclusion of the pilot phase in 2023. The coordination centre is to be located at the headquarters of the WMO Secretariat in Geneva.
In 2019 WMO established a coordination post at UN Headquarters in New York, providing a strategic information flow on weather, climate and water-related hazards to the UN operations and Crisis Centre. WMO New York and Geneva offices have recently combined forces to ensure the provision of authoritative advice to the UN’s Inter Agency Standing Committee.