CREWS Caribbean Develops Legal Basis for Meteorology

Over the summer, the Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO) delivered two milestones in the Climate Risk and Early Warning  System (CREWS) Initiative’s Caribbean Project despite several setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a volcanic eruption and extreme weather events. In June, CMO delivered the Model Meteorological Bill and Policy and, in August, the Strategic Plans and National Frameworks for Weather, Water and Climate Services for its member states. Both were the result of months consultation and collaboration.

The Building Resilience to High-Impact Hydro-meteorological Events through Strengthening Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean Project will run from 2015–2021. It is funded by CREWS and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). The project targets the CMO member states: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The delivery of these two components culminates several months of consultation with the NMHSs of CMO members and their stakeholders organized by the project’s National Focal Points. The national consultation on the Strategic Plans and National Frameworks included the WMO sub-regional office in Costa Rica and the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) – the technical organ of CMO and a WMO Regional Climate Centre. While the Model Meteorological Bill and Policy is the fruit of a collaborative effort between WMO, CMO, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Following the endorsement of the Model Meteorological Bill and Policy by CMO members in a validation workshop in June, specific meteorological bills and policies are now being developed for Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. In August, six of the eight National Strategic Plans and Frameworks were endorsed (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines). In October, Dominica endorsed it as well.

The endorsement of the Model Meteorological Bill and Policy and the National Strategic Plans and Frameworks are foundational to strengthen the hydrometeorological services of WMO Member States and Territories in the region. They are designed to support the NMHSs in achieving appropriate legal mandates with well-defined roles, responsibilities and adequate resources. CMO Coordinating Director Arlene Laing emphasized the tremendous importance of clear legal mandates in a region where most NMHSs have been operating in the absence of specific legislation. Furthermore, the Bill and Policy will provide governments with guidance on the essential requirements for NMHSs to operate and give WMO and other development partners a better understanding of priority needs in the countries.

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