The World Meteorological Organization held its 73rd Executive Council (EC) meeting virtually from 14 to 25 June, focusing on strengthening and scaling up weather, climate, water and environmental-related services to meet ever-growing needs. Some of the major decisions taken at the meeting included:
Updating WMO’s data policy
– EC endorsed a unified policy on the international exchange of Earth system data
to help Members to meet the explosive growth in demand for weather, climate and water services as the world grapples with the dual challenges of climate change and of increasingly frequent extreme weather events. The draft data policy resolution will now be submitted for adoption at the World Meteorological Congress extraordinary session (Cg-Ext) scheduled for October 2021. It paves the way for a sweeping update of policies on the free and unrestricted exchange of data − the bedrock of WMO since it was established more than 70 years ago. The WMO Unified Policy for the International Exchange of Earth System Data is based on WMO’s strategic integrated Earth system approach to all monitoring and prediction of weather, climate, water and related environmental phenomena, and will serve as the foundation of a wider push to strengthen the global observing networks and help overcome regional disparities.
Closing the gap in the global observing system – EC approved a resolution setting out detailed provisions for a Global Basic Observing System, the implementation of which will guarantee exchange of a minimum supply of critically needed surface-based observations from all Members into the global Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) systems that provide the basis for all weather, climate and related Earth system services. While GBON will provide economic benefits estimated conservatively at over US$ 5 billion per year, based on expected improvements in weather prediction alone, WMO recognizes that the implementation of this network will be challenging for many of the least resourced Members. The proposed Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) therefore aims to provide the necessary financial and technical support for Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States to support the implementation of GBON, but in terms of filling the current gaps in observational data coverage and to help sustain the operation of the observing network in the long term.
A plan of action for hydrology
– The WMO Vision and Strategy for Hydrology and its associated Action Plan
were endorsed by EC, reflecting the need to improve water monitoring and management in the face of the challenges of water stress, water-related hazards and water quality. The Action Plan presents in detail the activities needed to fulfil the eight long-term ambitions that should guide the development of WMO initiatives relevant to water up to 2030. A second EC resolution paves the way for Cg-Ext to issue a Water Declaration on the need to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation, and to support Members in designing and implementing resilient systems that will help to mitigate climate change impacts in water, food and energy nexus. In this regard, WMO is spearheading a Water and Climate Coalition − a community of multi-sectoral actors, guided by high-level leadership and focused on integrated water and climate action.
WMO Governance Reform − EC approved the Evaluation Plan of the Constituent Bodies and considered the impact of COVID-19 on the functioning of the organization. Approved were a set of recommendations to be adopted by Cg-Ext on the Comprehensive Review of the WMO Regional Mechanisms and Approaches as part of the second phase of the WMO Reform. The recommendations are intended to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the regional associations and increase intra and inter-regional cooperation, partnerships and resources mobilization. Specifically, the recommendations will lead to enhanced implementation of Congress and EC decisions by WMO Members; better engagement with the United Nations system, regional economic commissions, and regional organizations; strengthened capacity of the WMO regional offices to coordinate regional partnerships and activities; strengthened engagement of the private sector and academia; and more effective support and capacity development of WMO Members.
The outcomes of this EC helped sharpen WMO contributions to the global agenda on disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change.
Several awards were also given including:
International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize selected Professor In-Sik Kang from the Republic of Korea as the 66th IMO Prize winner. The award cites Prof. Kang’s scientific achievements, particularly in the field of climate modelling and prediction, and his pioneering contributions to operational and research climate centres, and for nurturing next-generation scientists, including from developing countries. He has published more than 170 papers in scientific journals.
Professor Dr Vilho Väisälä Award for an Outstanding Research Paper on Instruments and Methods of Observation was awarded to Julian Gröbner (Switzerland) and Natalia Kouremeti (Switzerland) for their paper entitled “The Precision Solar Spectroradiometer (PSR) for direct solar irradiance measurements” published in Solar Energy 185 (2019), p. 199-210.
Professor Dr Vilho Väisälä Award for the Development and Implementation of Instruments Methods of Observation in Developing Countries was awarded to Duong Van Khanh, Do Huy Duong, Nguyen Xuan Tuan, and Mai Hai Tung (Viet Nam) for their paper entitled “Automation solution to manage technical operations and transfer the real-time information from manual stations of Meteorological and Hydrological in Viet Nam” published in Viet Nam Journal of Hydro- Meteorology, No. 691, dated 25 July 2018.
The 2021 WMO Research Award for Young Scientists was awarded to Dr Hoang-Minh Nguyen (Viet Nam) for his paper entitled “An approach for improving the capability of a coupled meteorological and hydrological model for rainfall and flood forecasts” published in the Journal of Hydrology, 577, 2019, 124014.