The 18th Session of the Regional Association I (RAI-18, Africa), held virtually on 18-19 March, focused predominantly on the WMO Reform and established a High-level Task Team to lead the Regional Concept for Regional Associations (RAs). In addition, the session established Committees on Services, Infrastructure and Research and on Capacity Development to align with the new WMO Governance Structure. The RAI Management Group was also reconstituted to take on board these new subsidiary bodies.
The Session further amended the Tropical Cyclone Committee of the South West Indian Ocean to reflect emerging issues. Participants agree upon the establishment of a hydrological but it left to the hydrological community to constitute the membership at a later date. The Session took note of the 2020 State of Africa Climate Report and urged all Members to contribute to the Report.
The Session identified multi-hazard early warning systems, capacity development, operational hydrology, public private engagements and gender main streaming among its priorities for the period from 2021–2023. RAI-18 further decided to implement the following in the period:
- Regional/Global Basic Observing Network – RBON/GBON and increase of observational data on Global Telecommunication System (GTS) to improve global Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP)
- Aircraft-based observations (ABO) and the global Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR)
- Multi-Hazard Early Warning systems (MHEWS) at national and regional levels and the launch of the Global Multi-Hazard Alert System (GMAS)
- Strengthening the capacity of Members in the production of products (including NWP and satellite products) and services
- Enhanced Research and Innovation on the continent through the CR4D initiative and its Inter-governmental Collaboration Platform (ICP) in partnership with WMO Science and Innovation Department
- Enhanced support to Gender equality policy, under United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5, and strengthening partnerships between NMHSs and other bodies (public and private sectors).
RAI-18 elected Ms Stella Aura, Director of Kenya Meteorological Department and Permanent Representative of Kenya with the WMO, as its new vice-president.
Some 290 participants registered for RAI-18, including representatives from the private and public sector such as United Nations agencies, the African Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank, World Bank, EUMETSAT, SWIFT and Varysian Ltd. Many highlighted how they could partner with WMO to achieve concrete deliverables with key performance indicators for the period 2021–2023 in priority areas in Africa. The WMO Regional Office will follow-up on the commitments from these organizations.