WMO’s desired outcomes, strategies and associated goals
The vision of WMO
To provide world leadership in expertise and international co-operation in weather, climate, hydrology and water resources, and related environmental issues, and thereby to contribute to the safety and well being of people throughout the world and to the economic benefit of all nations.
Desired outcomes are defined as the results and/or impacts of what WMO wishes to achieve, for which WMO can play a significant role. WMO can contribute to achieving these, but there are many other factors and influences which are not under the direct control of WMO or its Members. Flowing from the vision above, there are five outcomes for people throughout the world, and for the benefit of all nations. The sub-points under each are intended to illustrate examples of particular outcomes, and do not cover all possibilities. In addition to and in support of the five outcomes which address what WMO wishes to achieve for the larger community, a sixth outcome relating to its own strengthening is also identified.
(a) Reduction of the social and economic impacts of natural disasters; e.g. tropical cyclones, floods, strong winds, droughts, desertification, forest fires, severe storms and pollution events;
(b) Increased awareness and preparedness of peoples and society to face severe weather and to take appropriate actions to mitigate its impacts;
(c) Improved safety of infrastructure such as buildings, roads, bridges, and power plants; and
(d) Reduced vulnerability of human life and property to weather, climate and flood events, including changes in urban climate and hydrology, the effects of excessive heat and cold in urban areas, and the effects of sea level rise.
This outcome directly relates to the contribution to the safety and well being of people envisioned by WMO. Increased awareness and preparedness of peoples and society with respect to the wide range of natural disasters of hydrometeorological origin are achieved through better availability of related information and warnings, including products provided by NMHSs and, in turn, lead to reduction of loss of life and adverse socio-economic impacts, safer infrastructure and reduced vulnerability of society.
(a) Improved safety of road travel and transport;
(b) Improved safety of air travel and transport; and
(c) Enhanced safety of life and property at sea, for commercial shipping and other users (pleasure craft, sporting events, fisheries, industry).
This outcome is to be achieved through the enhanced provision of user-oriented meteorological, hydrological and oceanographic forecasts and services. Useful high-quality products and services, provided in a timely manner, enable those concerned to select safer options and reduce risks associated with various means for travel and transport. For travel and transport by air, of particular importance is the provision of warnings of enroute meteorological and environmental hazards, including turbulence, icing, volcanic ash and tropical cyclones; for travel and transport by land - the provision of warnings of icing conditions and strong winds. For enhanced safety of life and property at sea more detailed and more varied marine weather and ocean condition services of higher quality should be provided.
(a) Adequate and sustained food availability;
(b) Improved assessment and management of water resources;
(c) Increased weather-climate-environment awareness of peoples, governmental bodies and society;
(d) Better informed public on the importance of meteorology and hydrology and how they can improve their daily lives;
(e) Improved environment in terms of good air quality;
(f) Reduction of health problems, including those associated with increasing UV-radiation and pollution; and
(g) Increased social benefit through people making the most of weather information and forecasts in leisure, sports and every day life.
The meteorological, hydrological and related information and services are important contributions for achieving this outcome. Weather and climate information and forecasts, together with specialized agrometeorological services, contribute to the development of optimally managed and less vulnerable agriculture, combating droughts and desertification and thereby to sustained food availability. Meteorological and hydrological information and forecasts are also critically important for the improvement of the assessment and management of water resources.
WMO play a very important role in enabling governments, socio-economic sectors and the general public to be better informed and educated on societal values of meteorology, hydrology and related sciences and on the benefits which could be obtained from proper application of these sciences. Better air quality, reduced health problems and better quality of everyday life are just a few examples of such benefits.
(a) Contribution to economic development;
(b) Maximized potential of weather, water or climate sensitive natural resources (including renewable sources of energy), to support sustainable development and reduce impacts on the environment;
(c) More efficient agricultural production and use of water resources;
(d) Better ability to adapt to climate change of weather sensitive sectors of the economy (including energy, tourism, building design and urban planning);
(e) Improved management of the natural environment; and
(f) Improved economy and efficiency of transport on land, on inland waters, at sea and in the air.
Improved protection and increased safety of life and property, together with enhanced quality of life, which constitute the first three desired outcomes, are intimately interrelated with the sustainability of the economic growth. Therefore WMO’s activities aimed at achieving these three outcomes also support the fourth one. In addition, there are a number of activities which would be contributing directly to sustainable economic growth, including proper application of meteorological, hydrological and related information and forecasts in planning and management of agricultural production and water resources and better use of favourable meteorological conditions in order to increase economic benefit.
(a) Better, reliable and timely, advice to policy- and decision-makers with regard to policies and courses of action to be taken, on a national, regional and international scale, to prevent adverse climate modification and damage to the natural environment;
(b) Greater understanding of the climate system at national, regional and global scales;
(c) Contribution to protecting natural ecosystems, including both freshwater and marine aquatic ecosystems;
(d) A halt or even reversal of the deteriorating trend in the quality of the atmosphere in relation to human habitation; and
(e) Support to the formulation of relevant national, regional as well as international Conventions and strategies such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer and others.
In order to achieve better protection of the natural environment, the accurate, reliable and up-to-date information is required on the status of the environment. Availability of weather, climate, hydrological and oceanographic information, in particular as ensured through WMO’s programmes and activities, should enable regular assessments of the environmental state and its trends. These serve a basis for decision making process aimed at reducing or even eliminating adverse human impact on the natural environment. In addition to assistance in policy making, the relevant activities relating to this outcome can help countries also to meet international commitments.
(a) More rapid response to natural disaster situations;
(b) Bridging the gap between the developed and developing countries in the provision of related services; and
(c) Improved and more diversified resource mobilization.
WMO will enhance its effectiveness as an Organization so as to promote improved international cooperation and coordination, as well as to improve the provision of expertise in the areas relevant to its scope of interest. WMO will respond more rapidly to the changing trends and developments, as well as evolving needs to serve its Members better. It seeks to ensure that all nations have the appropriate range and level of meteorological, hydrological and related services appropriate to their requirements.
In order to contribute to the desired outcomes, the WMO and its Members have adopted the following strategies with associated goals for meeting the evolving global needs for expert advice and services pertinent to weather, water, climate and the related natural environment. The strategies fall into four groups. The first two strategies cover direct delivery of services and information to the public and users, in terms of the vision “to contribute to the safety and well being of people throughout the world and to the economic benefit of all nations”. Strategies 3 and 4 are about WMO’s role as an authoritative voice and in informing and educating to enhance the “take-up” of services. Strategies 5 and 6 are associated with enhancing the basic infrastructure and predictions needed to achieve the goals associated with strategies 1 to 4. Strategies 7 through 9 are concerned with how WMO and its Members aim to meet strategies 1 to 6. Each strategy has a number of individual strategic goals associated with it.
1. To enable the delivery of increasingly accurate and reliable warnings of severe events related to weather, water, climate and the related natural environment throughout the world, and ensure they are able to reach their target audience (individuals, emergency services, decision-makers) in a timely and useful manner.
(a) Review and update assessed requirements for warnings of severe events pertinent to weather, water, climate and the related natural environment in different parts of the world, including assessing where the vulnerable areas are and assessing the capabilities of the different Members of WMO regarding the provision of such warnings and the need for regional or global cooperation;
(b) Improve the accuracy and reliability of the analysis, forecasts and warnings of natural hazards such as tropical cyclones, floods, strong winds, droughts, forest fires, severe storms, pollution events and periods of intense relative heat and cold. This should include improving seasonal and longer term predictions of changes in the timing, severity or frequency of such severe events, such as associated with El Niño and global warming (including information on the likely consequences of climate change at a regional level);
(c) Enhance mechanisms and communication systems for delivering warnings, including considering how best to utilize the international capabilities, technological developments (e.g., the Internet), links with media and the appropriate authorities responsible for action;
(d) Improve the mechanisms for providing prompt advice and assistance to Members affected by a severe event, including utilizing the capabilities of other Members and coordinating actions;
(e) Strengthen protocols for warnings, to avoid confusion of different warnings from different sources, including cooperation between the different sectors of the meteorological, hydrological, oceanographic and climatological communities to agree on responsibilities;
(f) Improve communication and coordination with organizations who need to receive and act upon the warnings, to ensure they understand what can be achieved, that their requirements are properly understood and that the type, format, timeliness and method of delivery of the warnings are appropriate and useful;
(g) Ensure effective mechanisms for regularly presenting information to governments, relevant organizations and the public as appropriate, advising on areas at increased risk of natural disasters and actions which could be taken to reduce the potential impacts of such disasters; and
(h) Enhance effective international cooperation and collaboration, using the collective abilities of the different Members of WMO (including the different sectors of the meteorological [including climatological], hydrological, and oceanographic communities) and of other international organizations in order to achieve the best outcome.
2. To enable the provision of increasingly beneficial weather, water, climate and related environmental services to the public, governments and other users/customers throughout the world.
(a) Review and update assessed requirements for meteorological [including seasonal climate], hydrological, oceanographic and related environmental services, including assessing the capabilities of the different Members of WMO regarding the provision of such services and the need for regional or global cooperation to better meet the requirements, in different parts of the world for the following sectors, among others:
(iv) Public, including:
- Health, including air quality, water quality, UV-radiation and pollution services;
(v) Assessment and management of fresh water resources; and
(vi) Industry – including construction, tourism, retail, energy, utilities.
(b) Improve the provision of the services listed in (a) by:
(i) Improved infrastructure and use of improved technology where appropriate by building on strengths and remedying identified weaknesses and deficiencies;
(ii) Increased user-focus to meet the needs of the different sectors of society, including affordability. This should include improving communication with the types of organizations and users who may benefit from receiving the services, to ensure they understand what can be achieved, that their requirements are properly understood and that the type, format, timeliness and method of delivery of the services are appropriate and useful;
(iii) Greater prediction accuracy and reliability where needed; and
(iv) Enhanced integration of services, using a multi-disciplinary approach across natural sciences: taking the fullest account of relevant physical and chemical parameters associated with the weather, the climate, hydrological and oceanographic conditions, as appropriate, to meet the users’/customers’ needs.
The next two strategies are about WMO’s role as an authoritative voice and in informing and educating to enhance the “take-up” of services.
3. To enhance WMO’s role as the United Nations system’s authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources; including ensuring that it contributes to relevant international conventions, protocols, and other legal instruments, and that relevant agreements are scientifically based.
(a) Review and update the assessment of the specific types of issues which WMO should be the authoritative scientific voice on, including considering the roles of other organizations (such as UNEP and UNFCCC regarding climate change) and the possible establishment or enhancement of joint arrangements;
(b) Improve WMO’s position as the respected authority for these issues:
(i) Promote to governments, other international organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia and the media, the role of WMO and the way in which WMO and its Members could be beneficial to them as a source of expert information and advice on matters related to weather, water, climate and related environmental issues. This should include promoting the successes of WMO Programmes, in terms of the benefits to the different communities;
(ii) Enhance the profile of WMO through improved communication with the media; in particular being proactive in issuing press statements in a timely and interesting manner on relevant issues;
(iii) Respond authoritatively to the increasing demand of the communities for expert advice on meteorological, hydrological and related environmental issues of importance to countries, and bring together experts from Members to formulate consistent advice, as appropriate;
(c) Facilitate the continual update of an appropriate knowledge base of the types of issues defined in (a), (see strategy 5);
(d) Provide the information/advice in the most effective manner:
(i) Improve the mechanisms for preparing and issuing/delivering the advice/information and ensuring WMO is included in the development of international protocols and agreements related to weather, water, climate and related environmental issues; ensuring that the capabilities of Members of WMO are utilized to the best advantage;
(ii) Express the Organization’s point of view to key international, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations whose activities are connected with those of WMO; and
(iii) Participate actively in decision-making by such external bodies to ensure that hydrometeorological, oceanographic and climatic issues are adequately taken into account, including in the organization of such bodies’ activities.
4. To inform and educate the public, governments and other interested parties about the socio-economic benefits of understanding the weather, water, climate and related environment.
(a) Improve our knowledge of the benefits of meteorological [including climatological], hydrological, oceanographic and related environmental services, in terms of outcomes which affect the users of such services, including carrying out cost-benefit studies for the various sectors;
(b) Inform governments and others of benefits, to encourage support for meteorological (including climatological), hydrological, oceanographic and related activities and to enable better use of the available knowledge, information and forecasts;
(c) Demonstrate to the public the socio/economic value (preferably in quantitative terms) of the services of the NMHSs through case studies, what-if analyses, economic simulation models and other ways;
(d) Inform users of the benefits in terms of outputs/outcomes which affect the different sectors of society and the economy of a country; and
(e) Promote education of the public through the media, and students through the elementary and high-school educational programme, to increase awareness with respect to the weather-water-climate-environment system of our planet.
The following two strategies are associated with enhancing the basic infrastructure and predictions needed to achieve the goals associated with strategies 1 to 4 above.
5. To understand and improve the modelling of the processes which affect the current and future state of the atmosphere, the weather, water resources, the physical state of the oceans, climate change and related environmental states such as air quality and pollution levels.
(a) Review the requirements for predictions, and the need for improvements in our understanding of the relevant processes, to achieve the goals associated with strategies (1) to (4);
(b) Improve the collaboration and cooperation on a regional and global basis between centres which carry out research into the processes and the development of prediction systems, including numerical modelling, in order to improve the understanding and the predictions and reduce unbeneficial duplication of effort; and
(c) Improve linkages with pertinent disciplines; take the fullest account of relevant parameters associated with the weather, climate, hydrological and oceanographic conditions, as well as parameters outside the geophysical fields, as appropriate.
6. To observe, record and report on the weather, water resources, climate and the related natural environment, to use these data for the preparation of operational forecast and warning services and related information, and to maintain and enhance systems to exchange these data, products and information.
(a) Identify the data requirements for achieving the goals in strategies (1) to (5);
(b) Improve and optimize global systems for observing, recording and reporting on the weather, water resources, ocean, climate and the related natural environment to meet the requirements in the most effective and efficient manner; including the standardization of techniques for observing data and planning networks on a regional basis;
(c) Review the operational requirements for forecasts and warnings to achieve the goals in strategies (1) and (2);
(d) Improve cooperation between NMHSs and other appropriate organizations to implement the observing, processing, forecasting and communication systems, in order to improve the quality, robustness and cost effectiveness of these systems, and in order to better meet the requirements. This should include planning basic systems on a regional basis and establishing appropriate cost-sharing mechanisms to enable improvements in the system;
(e) Enhance the maintenance system for the basic infrastructure, to assess problems and deficiencies and take remedial action, including planning contingency arrangements as appropriate;
(f) Keep up-to-date with new technological developments and utilize them where most appropriate; and
(g) Ensure that the principle of free and unrestricted international exchange of data and products is maintained.
The following three strategies are concerned with how WMO and its Members aim to meet strategies 1 to 6 above. Each of the associated goals should therefore be considered in the context of how they can contribute to the goals associated with strategies 1 to 6.
7. To enhance National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) capabilities to deliver services, and improve cooperation and collaboration between them.
(a) Strengthen mechanisms and structures within WMO to facilitate increased collaboration and alliances between NMHSs, including facilitating regional cooperation to supplement national capabilities;
(b) Promote regional and international cooperation and collaborative programmes between developed and developing nations, particularly in the area of transfer of technology and capacity building;
(c) Support education and training for staff, especially in developing country NMHSs to enable them to take advantage of developments in weather, climate, and environmental science, new technology, new management methods and new techniques for meeting user requirements; and
(d) Facilitate and encourage collaboration between NMHSs on the basis of common interest projects to improve effectiveness and reduce overall costs (e.g., observing systems planned and implemented on a regional basis, cooperation in development of forecast models, pooling of staff resources).
8. To work more effectively with international partners, other relevant organizations, academia, the media and the private sector.
(a) Encourage multi-disciplinary cooperation in meteorology, hydrology, oceanography and related environmental fields;
(b) Maintain a high level of collaboration within the UN system and with other international organizations. Enhance and, where appropriate, develop joint inter-agency programmes to address the influence of weather, climate, water resources, oceanography and related topics on the activities of interest to those organizations;
(c) Establish mechanisms to increase the involvement of the wider meteorological and related environmental community in the work of WMO;
(d) Promote better collaboration between NMHSs, the media, academia and the private sector, as well as local and national government, to provide better meteorological services to the public taking account of the need for effective and efficient services to distribute official forecasts, bulletins and warnings;
(e) Improve communication with institutions such as the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility, to encourage funding for the global meteorological infrastructure, applications and related activities; and
(f) Strengthen cooperation with those non-governmental organizations active in the fields of meteorology [including climatology], oceanography, hydrology and water resources management.
9. To improve the effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility of the structure and working mechanisms and practices of WMO, to enable it to respond more rapidly to the changing needs of society and new opportunities provided by technological advances.
(a) Review and improve the WMO structure and working mechanisms to increase the effectiveness and flexibility to cope with changing circumstances, including:
(i) Facilitating new types of cooperation between NMHSs and other sectors, including joint funding of infrastructure such as regional observation networks and telecommunication systems where appropriate, and a joint system for dealing with severe weather-related events of regional scale;
(ii) Ensuring that there are suitable links between the different bodies within the WMO structure, to deal appropriately with cross-cutting issues such as the different elements involved in implementing an appropriate warning system (from data collection, through development of an appropriate prediction system, to delivery of the warning to the appropriate authorities/users);
(iii) Implementing a project-oriented approach, which brings together the necessary grouping of skills for a particular project, not confined by a departmental structure; and
(iv) The capability to cope with new priority issues.
(b) Review the role of the WMO Secretariat, and the changing skills required to cope with the evolving needs of the Members, and ensure that the most capable and experienced staff from Members are employed within WMO to drive and coordinate the activities;
(c) Review the terms of reference and working mechanisms of relevant WMO bodies in order to better facilitate partnerships with other relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academia and the private sector and pursue an active policy to include these entities in the work of WMO; and
(d) Improve the efficiency of WMO modes of operation.