WMO has won an award for “Effective and Innovative Online Meetings,” for successfully embracing virtual technology to increase interaction with its global network on all matters regarding weather, climate and water.
The annual Geneva Engage Awards recognized WMO’s achievements as part of a range of awards to acknowledge the efforts of actors in International Geneva in social media outreach and engagement.
The Geneva Engage initiative, launched by the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) in 2016 with the support of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, and DiploFoundation, assesses the interplay between International Geneva and stakeholders worldwide, which are impacted by the policies discussed and negotiated in Geneva.
WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas said the awards would enhance the visibility of Geneva as a UN hub. Online meetings involving a wide array of stakeholders are vital to the success of major WMO strategic priorities including the UN’s Early Warnings for All Initiative, he said.
"Considering our mandate, it became imperative to find alternative ways to create spaces for collaboration, rather than traditional in-person meetings. And then COVID hit, which was a terrible experience for the world, but the silver lining was that it accelerated the need to reimagine the way we operate our business,” said Maja Carrieri, Director of Governance Services at WMO.
"One of the concerns was how do we integrate interpretation, with the technological limitations we faced at the time. Technology had to mature, we explored and tested different options, and over time we were able to find a practical and efficient solution," she said.
She said that WMO has managed to ensure that everyone is included, everyone participates, especially developing countries, so no one is left behind.
In 2022, compared to 2021, WMO has seen an increase of 58% in presence at meetings thanks to the virtual and hybrid format. There has been a 800% increase in meetings conducted via Microsoft Teams and 105% increase in meetings conducted via Zoom.
More than 300 meetings were conducted virtually in 2022.
"It's very motivating and reassuring to receive this award. It shows us that we are on the right track. This is the tip of the iceberg at the inception of our journey in digital transformation,” said Ms. Carrieri.