Education and Training in a Period of Rapid Change

The Fourteenth WMO Symposium on Education and Training (SYMET-14), held online from 22–25 November, highlighted the challenges and opportunities related to rapidly progressing technology, changes in service delivery expectations, globalization of the meteorological enterprise, growth in urban environments, and impacts of climate change.  “Meteorological education and training have never been more important,” noted Prof. Andrew Charlton-Perez, University of Reading, co-chair of the SYMET International Advisory Committee (IAC). “We hope that this meeting can develop new ways to increase the amount and quality of meteorological training around the world and international cooperation is key to this endeavour.”

The opening address by WMO Secretary-General of WMO, Prof. Petteri Professor Taalas emphasized the many changes that are occurring within the WMO, including governance reform and structural changes to implement an Earth systems approach in Secretariat. He stressed the importance of SYMET as a coordination opportunity for WMO education and training providers, noting the need to adopt new, efficient delivery modes to meet the growing requirements for education and training. 

Four keynote speakers addressed themes that were further explored during the Symposium:

  • Dr Louis Uccellini, Permanent Representative of United States of America to the WMO, highlighted current and future training needs for Preparing the Earth System Scientist of 2040.
  • Prof. Dwikorita Karnawati, Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the WMO, underlined The increasing importance of education and training in promoting the paradigm shift to multi-hazard early warning systems for NMHSs.
  • Academician Markku Kulmala, University of Helsinki, looked at multi-dimensional, multi-disciplinary, and multi-scale approaches to answering grand challenges in A Look at the Future of International Meteorological and Hydrological Education.
  • Prof. Komi Sélom Klassou, University of Lomé, Former Prime-Minister of Togo, highlighted the importance of Preparing for the Rapid Changes Required in the Operations of Hydrological and Climate Services.

These addresses set the scene for key discussions, the outcomes of which were compiled in SYMET-14 Statement, approved by participants on the final day of the symposium. The Statement’s observations and recommendations are addressed to policymakers and governments, the WMO and other international organizations, and to the education and training community. “The SYMET-14 Statement will become a roadmap for the development of hydrometeorological education, increasing its efficiency,” said Dr Anna Timofeeva, Russian State Hydrometeorological University, the second co-chair of the IAC. “It will foster cooperation between the regional training centres and academic science and technical commissions of WMO.”

Visit the Symposium website to access recordings of the keynote addresses and posters presentations and resources exchanged during the Symposium. The Symposium, attended by 280 participants representing some 60 countries, was organized by WMO Education and Training Office with the support of SYMET-14 IAC.

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