The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in September 2015, will serve as the centrepiece for national and international policymaking over the next 15 years. It sets out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 associated targets and describes a number of international mechanisms for supporting implementation. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and the broader WMO community can contribute to the SDGs at the national and international levels.
“Whether we deal with food security, health or water and sanitation; whether we foster clean energy or resilient infrastructure and cities; whether we pursue the sustainable management of oceans, land or ecosystems – building more resilient societies to weather and climate extremes remains an imperative and a necessary condition to progress towards sustainable development,” states WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
The products and services delivered by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other institutions belonging to the WMO community save lives and promote human well-being. Thanks to timely alerts, predictions and other weather and climate information, people are more prepared for, and less vulnerable to, hydrometeorological hazards than ever before. They are also better able to maximize productivity and plan their daily activities. Less widely recognized is the critical role that the providers of such services play in assisting countries to pursue sustainable development. Weather, climate and water can all affect sustainable development. The services provided by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services can enable decision-makers to minimize risks and exploit opportunities in agriculture, public health, water resources, energy production and other important sectors.
National Meteorological and Hydrological Services will benefit from aligning their activities with the SDGs as the 2030 Agenda will drive national policies and investment, the funding of projects by donors and UN system programmes and activities. By highlighting how their products and services contribute to sustainable development, service providers can raise their national profile and attract greater political and nancial support. Therefore, the WMO community will not only contribute to the global drive towards sustainable development, it will also benefit from greater support for strengthening its services.
The products and services delivered by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other institutions belonging to the WMO community save lives and promote human well-being.
The WMO Roving Seminars on Weather, Climate and Farmers assists farmers to apply the best available weather and climate information to their operational decisions.
How WMO can contribute
The 2030 Agenda stresses the importance of partnerships and international cooperation for achieving the SDGs – an enhanced and revitalized Global Partnership for Sustainable Development will facilitate this.The 2030 Agenda also invites governments to submit National Plans for addressing SDGs, and defines aTechnical Facilitation Mechanism.The WMO community can make important contributions to the partnership, plans and mechanism, as well as to other collaborative forums.
National Meteorological and Hydrological Services can benefit from the status of WMO as a Specialized Agency of the UN to engage with the 2030 Agenda.They can also draw on the partnerships that the WMO community continues to build with other communities, sectors and disciplines, for example, through national climate services and the GFCS. As policymakers and the general public gain a better understand of the WMO contribution to sustainable development, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services can look forward to establishing an even stronger role in protecting life and property, and in building weather and climate resilience.
The Strategic Plan for 2016–2019 sets out WMO priorities aimed at enabling all National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to improve their information, products and services.The application of recent breakthroughs in weather and climate science will make it possible to deliver increasingly robust and actionable scientific information and analyses to decision-makers. 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 SDGs. They include:
- Anchoring WMO expertise within the UN system,
Engaging high-level independent advisers,
Supporting national integrated action plans,
Developing new partnerships,
Strengthening the regional approach, and
Raising high-level political visibilit
Meeting the challenge
The demand for accessible and accurate weather, climate, hydrological, marine and related environmental services will continue to grow in the years ahead. It will be driven in part by concerns over climate change and the varying patterns of weather, hydrology, storms, flooding and drought. It will also reflect the need to respond to new human vulnerabilities resulting, for example, from migration and the growth of megacities and coastal developments.The contributions that these services can make to the 2030 Agenda will increase every year.
Advances in weather and climate science will make it possible for the WMO community to satisfy this demand for continuously improved services. WMO and its Members will collaborate on accelerating this trend through technology transfer, capacity development, training and public outreach. With a stronger emphasis on partnerships and openness to a changing political and economic environment, they will also pursue innovative and creative new approaches to delivering services. In this way, the WMO community will ensure that today’s decision-makers, and those of future generations, have the tools and information they need to thrive and develop in an increasingly complex and challenging environment.
The demand for accessible and accurate weather, climate, hydrological, marine and related environmental services will continue to grow in the years ahead.
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.