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World Meteorological Congress Approves Climate Services Implementation Plan
Geneva, 5 November 2012 – As Hurricane Sandy highlighted the force of nature, governments from around the world agreed on a detailed road map to improve and expand climate services essential to cope with weather, climate and water-related hazards several of which are expected to increase in frequency and/or intensity.
A historic extraordinary session of the World Meteorological Congress 29-31 October approved the governance structure and implementation plan for the Global Framework for Climate Services. This is a sweeping initiative to capitalize on scientific advances and roll out user-driven services such as seasonal climate outlooks and El Niño watches, flood prediction and drought monitoring tools.
“We have finished the last kilometer of preparation and now we are beginning the many kilometers of progress to improve the livelihood of citizens all over the world,” said World Meteorological Organization President David Grimes.
“Hundreds of millions, indeed billions, of people are demanding better climate services to respond to reduce the risk of disasters and improve food security, water management and health outcomes,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “Together through the Global Framework for Climate Services we can turn these challenges into opportunities and make a very significant contribution to sustainable development.”
About 70 countries currently have either inadequate or no climate services and therefore are vulnerable to natural variations in our climate and human induced climate change. They will be given special priority under the Global Framework for Climate Services,.
“What we have seen with Hurricane Sandy is that the countries affected were not just the least developed countries but also the most developed one,” said Mamadou Lamine Bah, Director of National Meteorology of Guinea and President of WMO’s Regional Association for Africa. “We have to stand together as we have a common enemy which is natural disasters. No country is spared. The Global Framework for Climate Services will help us reduce the risk of these disasters.”
Accelerating climate change is leading to more climate and weather extremes – a trend expected to increase in the future, with in particular more destructive flooding, severe droughts, heat waves and heavy rainfall in many parts of the world.
The Global Framework for Climate Services will bring together providers of climate services, researchers and users to make sure that the information provided by meteorologists and climate scientists is understandable and relevant to climate-sensitive activity. The initial focus will be on improved service delivery for disaster risk reduction, health, water management, agriculture and food security .
The extraordinary session of Congress approved a resolution to establish an Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services to ensure coordination at the regional and global levels and to engage the entire UN system and other stakeholders to deliver needs-based climate services all over the world. It will seek to ensure that the programmes of partners and the activities of GFCS are aligned, and that a broad range of expertise is mobilized in order to serve the users’ interests. The Board will operate under the authority of the World Meteorological Congress.
Congress also approved a resolution on the implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services. Eight fast track projects described in the implementation plan will serve to showcase the benefits of climate services for the improvement of livelihoods. The implementation structure includes five components across which activities will be coordinated and integrated:
- User Interface Platforms (forums for the engagement of climate providers and users);
- Climate Services Information System;
- Observations and Monitoring;
- Research, Modelling and Prediction;
- Capacity building.
A third resolution dealing with budgetary issues was also approved, stating the immediate importance for voluntary contributions by Member States to secure quick wins for the Framework. A strong desire was expressed for the sustainability of resources – a deliberation which will certainly continue at the 17th Session of the World Meteorological Congress in 2015.
Congress was attended by more than 600 delegates from 129 WMO Member States and Territories and from ten other international agencies. It included keynote addresses from the Executives heads of the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization and UN Water Chair. It was preceded by a two-day dialogue between climate service providers and users.
WMO is the United Nations’ authoritative voice on weather, climate and water
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