The WMO Programme for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) was established in 2003 in response to the call of the Third United Nations Conference on LDCs (Brussels, 2001) for its agencies to play a key role in the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001–2010. The Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA) for the LDCs contains specific goals and targets in the form of seven action-oriented commitments. Regarding the appropriate use of weather, climate and water services, WMO has promoted these commitments in particular:
- Commitment 1: Fostering a people-centred policy framework;
- Commitment 3: Building human and institutional capacities;
- Commitment 4: Building productive capacities to make globalization work for LDCs;
- Commitment 6: Reducing vulnerabilities and protecting the environment; and
- Commitment 7: Mobilizing financial resources.
The basic actions that WMO needs to carry out to implement its Strategic Plan are fully aligned with what WMO needs to do to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG), adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in September 2015.
Practical illustrations of how WMO contributes to the SDG
Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. Virtually all of the Organization’s work on reducing disaster risk, advancing research and providing information and services for decision-making contributes to development and the elimination of poverty. While not always recognized as poverty-reduction measures, weather, climate and other WMO-related products and services provide many essential, and often measurable, socio-economic benefits.
Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. Farmers, herders and fishers rely extensively on weather and climate services for anticipating and reducing risks, adapting crops, day-to-day and seasonal agrarian management, and maximizing productivity. Through their increasingly targeted services to the agricultural sector, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services are clearly central to ensuring global food security. The WMO Roving Seminars on Weather, Climate and Farmers, for example, assist farmers to apply the best available weather and climate information to their operational decisions.
Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. The appearance of mosquitoes, ticks and other insects that transmit many illnesses is frequently influenced by weather, climate and water. Deaths and injuries also result from floods, droughts, heatwaves and air pollution. The forecasts and advice that National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other service providers deliver to health agencies and to the public help to save lives. The WMO/WHO Atlas of Health and Climate defines the key risks that climate poses to public health in particular countries and regions and confirms the value of climate services for addressing these risks.
Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Observations and information on the hydrological cycle, including wetlands, aquifers, lakes, reservoirs and rainfall, are vital for guiding sustainable water management. The data and analyses provided by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other service providers also help to ensure that drinking water is safe and that human activities do not pollute aquatic ecosystems. Their work is supported by the World Hydrological Cycle Observing System (WHYCOS), which is improving basic observations, strengthening international cooperation and promoting the free exchange of data in the field of hydrology.
Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The growth in market share by clean energy sources is facilitated by rainfall, sunshine and wind data and forecasts. Weather forecasts also help to protect energy infrastructure from hydrometeorological hazards. The Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) is promoting partnerships and projects for supporting energy-management decisions with weather and climate information.
Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. Severe weather can damage or destroy vulnerable infrastructure, resulting in both economic and human losses. National weather reports protect infrastructure and industry from natural hazards, while climate change scenarios provide guidance on the placement and climate-proofing of infrastructure in coastal and other climate-vulnerable areas. The WMO Severe Weather Forecast Demonstration Project has illustrated the long-term benefits to countries of investing in weather- and climate-resilient infrastructure.
Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. By helping planners to make cities more climate-resilient, national weather and climate services reduce deaths and injuries from hazards, empower the poor and vulnerable, and protect cultural and natural heritage sites. At the international level, WMO is responding to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 by facilitating work on multi-hazard early warning systems, impact-based warnings, and other tools for building weather and climate resilience.
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. As emphasized by the 2016 World Meteorological Day theme – “Hotter, drier, wetter. Face the future” – the WMO community recognizes the need to provide decision-makers with the scientific facts and analyses they need to adapt to climate change impacts and build climate resilience. In addition to hosting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the World Climate Research Programme and the Global Climate Observing System, WMO is promoting international action and cooperation on climate change by establishing Regional Climate Centres and Regional Climate Outlook Forums. WMO is firmly committed to supporting the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. WMO, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other national entities support international efforts to monitor ocean temperatures, currents, salinity, acidification and surface levels – all major drivers of weather and climate. They also support coastal management and resilience, particularly for Small Island Developing States and other vulnerable regions. As the oceans continue to warm and sea levels to rise, the need for observations, research and operational services for the oceans will continue to grow. Activities such as the Coastal Inundation Demonstration Project will become increasingly important.
Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services monitor the hydrology that shapes the health of freshwater ecosystems, forests and dryland areas. They provide essential data and forecasts that support efforts to combat desertification and restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by drought and floods. The WMO community is also collaborating through the Integrated Drought Management Project and other activities to assist governments to develop proactive and integrated national drought-management policies.
Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. One of the WMO strategic priorities for 2016 – 2019 is to strengthen capacity development in order to enhance the capability of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to fulfil their mandates for providing operational weather, climate and water services. WMO also collaborates with UN agencies and other partners to promote the SDGs, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the GFCS and other multi-stakeholder partnerships.