The Royal Kingdom of Bhutan hosted a WMO Regional Workshop on the provision of weather- and climate-related services in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Asia, in Thimphu from 9 to 11 September 2014. The workshop brought together participants from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of eight Asian LDCs, namely, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Nepal, Myanmar and Yemen. These countries belong to the WMO Regional Association II (Asia) and have varying climate conditions, from the high mountain regions in the North to the coastal in the South, including also some landlocked countries.
“A common characteristic of Asian LDCs is their dependency on natural resources and a high vulnerability to hydro-meteorological hazards” said Dasho Sonam Tshering, Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Bhutan in his opening speech.
The LDCs in Asia are highly vulnerable to hydrometeorological hazards and climate change. The impacts of increasing temperature and precipitation variability, with higher frequency of extreme weather events and sea level rise, already being felt, could be significant in the LDCs due to their fragile infrastructures.
“Weather and climate services play a prominent role in day-to-day life of the people” said Dasho Tshering. These services contribute to the socio-economic development of LDCs but a comprehensive approach to economic development is needed. “Bhutan’s approach to economic development is based on the Gross National Happiness (GNH) and can provide an integrated approach to climate change adaptation” explained Dasho Tshering. GNH is based on four pillars: socio economic growth; environmental protection; cultural preservation; and good governance. Other countries, like Costa Rica, are adopting similar approaches.
The workshop provided opportunity for the Asian LDCs to share experiences and identify common challenges that can be tackled adopting a regional approach.
Immediate priorities include the improvement in quality and availability of observations, the provision of tailored weather forecasts and warnings and climate prediction to support decision makers, establishing national frameworks for weather- and climate-related services, enabling better linkages with users, improving forecast products and public weather services as well as implementing the recently published WMO Strategy for Service Delivery (SSD) using its Implementation Plan (IP).