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As a specialized agency of the United Nations and on behalf of its 191 Members, WMO is committed to achieving the goals and targets laid out in global development frameworks, above all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. On SDG number 5 "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls," WMO is mainstreaming gender issues in its governance, working structures, programmes and service delivery by attracting more women into scientific fields and improving their access to technology, information, science education and technical training. This commitment strengthens the position of women as scientists, technologists and users of weather, water and climate services and fosters increased participation of women in weather and climate policy and decision-making.

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The year 2017 has thus far witnessed a remarkable number of weather-  and climate-related disasters, from a series of powerful hurricanes in the Atlantic basin to floods in West Africa and Asia and severe droughts in the Horn of Africa, Sri Lanka, South Africa and elsewhere. Growing populations and economies leave many countries increasingly vulnerable to such disasters; a major storm or drought can cut the annual GDP of a developing country by as much as 30%. Countries lacking infrastructure and capacity for adequate early warning systems or effective climate services are particularly exposed to risk. Investing in these systems and services can therefore make an essential contribution to national development.

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Despite the great complexity of climate change, scientists must accept the challenge of communicating their findings to policymakers and the general public. They must do this in a way that is simple enough for non-specialists to understand, but not so simple that it distorts the science. Climate science is often communicated through well-written technical reports, but it can also be effectively explained through graphics, animations, oral presentations, compelling narratives, trusted messengers, and popular books and films.

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Climate services are fundamental for enabling national and local decision-makers to maintain and boost resilience in view of the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather and climate events due to climate change. Better availability of, access to and use of climate services is indispensable for addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the  Priorities for Action in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other international frameworks. Climate services are also vital for implementing effective climate mitigation and adaptation measures and for instigating societal transformation.

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Despite substantial advances in forecasting and emergency preparedness, weather-related disasters continue to kill, to displace populations, and to damage property and infrastructure. Even less severe weather events place an increasing strain on society. This is especially the case in countries with fragile economies and infrastructure. Such events challenge the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals, by pushing people back into poverty, destroying food crops, contaminating water supplies, disrupting education, undermining health and destroying businesses. The potential of advanced weather-related hazard forecasts to reduce these impacts has been demonstrated in developed countries.

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The Sustainable Development Goals will shape the international development agenda and transform the course of the 21st century through action to end poverty, inequality and violence, particularly against women. Achieving gender parity and women’s leadership are indisputable prerequisites for addressing these global challenges. The standalone Goal 5 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment...

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The Global Programme Water (GPW) of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and its partners strives to meet the global challenges associated with the management of water resources through its many projects and activities. At the beginning of the 21st century, these efforts aim to improve global water security within the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In particular, they support the implementation of the Sustainable...

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The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) is a decision-support activity that produces timely, evidence-based information on food insecurity. It supports humanitarian-response programming while helping to reveal the root causes of food insecurity around the world.

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Learn more about the WMO process of naming clouds and WMO Technical Regulations. 

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“Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.” What is the difference between weather and climate?