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Reform tops agenda for WMO executive council

The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) executive council is holding its annual session from 20-29 June 2018, with a focus on addressing high-impact weather and climate change and forming relationships with the private sector. There will also be a special one-day session on water.

The outcomes of the executive council will help shape the WMO’s contribution to the global agenda on disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change. The group will also discuss reform of WMO’s structure to meet the rapidly growing need for weather, climate and water services.

Petteri Taalas, secretary-general, WMO, said, “Climate change and a growing amount of weather-, climate- and water-related disasters and associated losses are hitting a large number of WMO members. There is a major need to develop modern multi-hazard early warning services to help climate change adaptation.”

WMO is strengthening partnerships within the UN system on issues such as disaster risk reduction, food security, health and air quality. The organisation is also seeking to meet the needs of development and humanitarian agencies, and to support developing countries with more information on El Niño and La Niña events, as well as warnings of extreme weather through a global MeteoAlarm system.

“Decision makers need to understand how climate variability and change are likely to affect key sectors such as agriculture, water resources, energy production, finance, migration, public health and disaster risk management,” added Taalas.

“Integrating weather and climate information with socioeconomic, geographical and other data makes it possible to create particularly powerful decision-support tools. WMO has recently signed new partnership agreements with the World Health Organization on air quality, climate and health and with the Food and Agriculture Organization on agricultural and food security services.”

The executive council will finalise the proposed WMO Strategic Plan, which forges the organisation’s vision through to 2030 with key priorities on disaster risk preparedness and reduction, climate-change adaptation and socioeconomic benefits. The plan defines strategic objectives for 2020-2023 aiming at greater integration of critical Earth system systems and services of observations, data exchange and scientific research.

The executive council will also discuss the budget for 2020-2023 and the future structure of constituent bodies of the WMO to ensure that it can effectively engage best technical and scientific expertise and leverage more resources. The need for regular reform is being driven by growing demand from members, as well as by environmental degradation, resource constraints, increased competition, technological advances and other forces. - June 2018

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