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15th Session of the WMO Commission for Agro-Meteorological Commission Begins
(Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 15 – 21 July 2010)
Belo Horizonte/Geneva, 15 July 2010 (WMO) – Representatives of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services from WMO 189 member States and Territories are gathered in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, from 15 to 21 July for the 15th – quadrennial – session of the WMO Commission for Agricultural Meteorology.
In his opening address, the President, Mr Jim Salinger, said the Commission had the incredibly important mandate with assisting food and fibre production so as to help achieve four major societal goals. These were to enhance food security, reduce the impacts of natural hazards (droughts, heatwaves, floods etc) on agriculture, forestry and fisheries, promote sustainable land management, and devise strategies to cope with climate variability and change and their impacts on agriculture, forests and fisheries. He expressed the hope that the Commission would convert into an action plan key recommendations from the international workshop of agro-meteorologists and farmers that had preceded its session (see press releases no 891 and 894).
The discussions will be geared towards efficient use and application of climate forecasts and predictions, especially in developing countries. Communication and capacity-building are key factors. “Scientific expertise is only of use in improving food security if it is understood and implemented by the people who produce and harvest the food”, Mr Salinger stressed.
WMO Secretary-General Mr Michel Jarraud stated that global climate change was causing concern among scientists, agronomists and decision-makers, since crop growth could be impacted by significant changes in principal climatic variables such as temperature and precipitation, and agricultural production and food security might be affected globally and locally, especially in the vulnerable developing world, where climate risks include floods, droughts and heatwaves with the potential to limit crop yield.
He stressed the urgent need to increase agricultural productivity through a more efficient use of soils, crops and climate, especially in the developing countries. Awareness in the farming community on the benefits of weather and climate services was increasing and collaboration between the agricultural and meteorological communities was growing.
In his welcome address, H.E. Mr Jose Gerardo Fontelles, Acting Minister and Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Brazil, noted that the Commission[s session was the major international meeting of agro-meteorologists ever held in the region. He mentioned the contribution of the National Institute for Meteorology (INMET) of Brazil to agricultural development in the country. Other dignitories of Brazil present at the opening session include Dr Antonio Divino Moura, Permanent Representative of Brazil with WMO, Dr Luiz Claudio Costa, Rector, Federal University of Vicosa and Dr Gilman Rodrigues, Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Minas Gerais state.
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