Regional Association VI - A new format with phased approach

WMO Regional Association (RA) VI (Europe) held its 18th Session virtually on 20 November with over 227 participants, representing 48 WMO Members and 7 international organizations. RA VI president Dr Michael Staudinger opened the session with a progress report on the achievements since the last session and expressed appreciation for the support provided by the Secretariat despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas addressed the participants and encouraged them to express their ideas on how the regional reform process could be implemented more efficiently and effectively at the regional scale.

During the discussions, the RA VI agreed on a new format for its session and will now hold three meetings during 2020/2021, focusing initially on a comprehensive reform of Regional Association business and processes as requested by the 18th session of the World Meteorological Congress in 2019. RA VI further agreed to establish two high-level task teams to guide the reform of Association business processes, working mechanisms, intra- and inter-regional cooperation, and to propose a way forward for the implementation of this guidance bearing in mind the characteristics of the region, including the diversity and capacity levels of Members.

To align the regional and global working structures, the Association established an overarching structure composed of working groups on infrastructure, services and research, and a Regional Hydrological Assembly. Guided by the RA VI president and management group, the regional working groups and Assembly will perform activities in collaboration with the relevant global bodies of WMO. The WMO Experts Database will be used to select regional experts who are already committed to serving on the global WMO bodies, thus ensuring the connection between the regional and global agenda. In the interim period, the existing working groups are kept in force as a starting point for the redesign of Association business and will advise the regional reform process.  

Other business

The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Ms Olga Algayerova, addressed the RA VI session and called for a strengthening of the links between all UN organizations. She welcomed the engagement of RA VI on issue-based coalitions, namely on Environment and Climate Change and on Sustainable Food Systems, guided by the Regional UN System Meetings. She looked forward to a strong contribution from WMO at the next Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in March 2021, which will review progress in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the region against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RA VI session agreed to contribute to ongoing high-level discussions between the WMO and the EU, especially on the topic of cooperation and collaboration between its National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and the Copernicus programme.

The RA VI session also took note of key regional initiatives:

  • Global Multi-Hazard Alert System (GMAS) - The RA VI Members decided to engage in the further development of the GMAS Framework by establishing a Task Team to lead related processes in the region. 
  • South-East European Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System (SEE-MHEWS) - The SEE-MHEWS project is now in a quasi-operational phase. The hydrometeorological modelling system is being applied in pilot river catchment in the region and will serve as the basis for the application of the full regional advisory system.
  • Central Asia and South Caucasus Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System (CASC-MHEWS) - The session requested that the RA VI president inform the RA II president about this initiative in order to launch consultations to establish collaboration between the two RAs for the successful implementation of the project.
  • RA VI Federated approach to data sharing – The session welcomed the EUMETNET Concept of Federated Data Coordination Mechanism. It also requested the president and the Management group to work closely with EUMETNET on this matter under the existing Memorandum of Understanding between WMO and EUMETNET.

The next RA VI is planned for June 2021.

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