The need to tackle climate change and predict and pre-empt its future impacts has added new imperatives to bringing down the barriers between scientific fields, policymakers, business and wider society. Breaking silos between the public and private sectors is critical if countries are to face up to weather and climate challenges and take advantage of the rapid pace of change in technology.
Accordingly, on 12 June, the World Meteorological Congress adopted a landmark declaration on strengthening links between the public, private and academic sectors, namely the “Geneva Declaration – 2019: Building Community for Weather, Climate and Water Actions.”
The declaration underlines that:
“the expanding opportunities to use meteorological, climatological, hydrological and related environmental information and services to inform critical decisions can foster increased societal and structural resilience, and sustainable economic development.”
While national meteorological and hydrological services are the mainstay of observation infrastructure and data collection, analysis and provision, the role of the private sector is growing fast. Companies are not just consumers of data; they have also become increasingly important as providers of information that they repackage for parts of the public sector, businesses and wider society.
Outgoing WMO President David Grimes noted that the Geneva Declaration marked a “clear call to governments about the importance of effective engagement and the contribution that academia and the private sector can make to the well-being of the WMO Members, and the citizens that we serve as Members, in ensuring that the best and most effective services, forecasts and warnings are provided.”
To achieve the ambition of the Geneva Declaration, WMO launched its Open Consultative Platform at a special high-level session of Congress. This mechanism aims to boost links and facilitate an open and constructive dialogue between the public, private and academic sectors.