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WMO Consultative Meetings on High-level Policy on Satellite Matters

Terms of Reference (Resolution 6 (Cg-XIV))

1. Background

In the opening decade of the twenty-first century, a major opportunity to support and enhance WMO Programmes could be obtained through existing and planned satellite programmes. At the same time, there is a need to demonstrate the value of those satellite programmes to all concerned and to ensure that future plans take into account WMO needs. Within the above context, the satellite operators and WMO agree that regular meetings to discuss high-level policy matters would be beneficial to all parties concerned. Such meetings would build on the good relationships that already existed between satellite operators and WMO bodies, and would enhance the working relations already in place through existing mechanisms. Those meetings would promote the achievement of further efficiencies in the satellite observing system and would ensure a common understanding of objectives and lead to better harmonization of programmes, requirements, usage of satellite data products and services, and high-level policy matters.

High-level policy matters could have a substantial impact on satellite operators and on most, if not all, WMO Members as well as on the allocation of resources. For WMO, the relevant decision-making authorities are Congress and the Executive Council; for the satellite operators, the equivalent decision-making organ would be their relevant governing bodies.

2. Purpose

The purpose of the Consultative Meetings on High-level Policy on Satellite Matters is to discuss matters of mutual interest between the satellite operators and the WMO user communities. One outcome of the meetings will be to ensure a better understanding of issues. A second, and more important objective, is to agree on advice and guidance to be forwarded to the WMO Executive Council and/or satellite operators.

3. Membership, organization and resource implications

The Consultative Meetings will be attended by the Directors of satellite operating agencies either contributing, or with the potential to contribute, to the space-based component of the GOS, members of the WMO Bureau, the president of the WMO CBS (who would represent all WMO technical commissions and who would be accompanied by representatives of the other commissions, as appropriate), and sufficient members of the Executive Council to reflect adequately the broad interests of WMO Members (including consideration of regional balance, user representation and the role of the Permanent Representatives of those Members with satellite operating agencies). The satellite operators will attend meetings at their own expense and the timing will be harmonized, as far as possible, with WMO Bureau sessions. The President of WMO will serve as the chairperson of the Consultative Meetings. Preparation for the meetings will be assured by the WMO Space Office staff as part of their normal duties, and the meetings will be convened by WMO. Additionally, the chairpersons of the Joint Scientific Committee for WCRP and the Steering Committee for GCOS will serve as members.

4. Terms of reference

The meetings could focus on a list of topics including:

(a) Coordination and implementation of the WMO Space Programme as described in the 6LTP, the WMO Space Programme Long-term Strategy and the programme and budget for 2004-2007;

(b) Discussion with satellite operators on WMO Programmes and WMO-sponsored programmes, on meteorology (including climatology), oceanography and hydrology. That would provide WMO with a forum to present its requirements for meteorological and environmental satellites (operational, research, and technology programmes) in a coordinated fashion;

(c) Consideration of the evolutionary design of the space-based component of the GOS to take account of future technological developments and the evolution of the present day in situ networks. WMO would become more proactive in providing a vision on future state-of-the-art systems;

(d) Preparation for the implementation of the transition between research and operational programmes through: (i) development of WMO recommendations identifying appropriate R&D instruments and missions based on the utility of their products and services in operational use; (ii) demonstration of the use of new capabilities by WMO Members and work with satellite operators to evaluate the contributions towards meeting societal needs; and (iii) WMO assessments of new satellite systems from a user perspective to provide formal evaluation results to the satellite operators;

(e) Consideration of the ways and means to reduce costs, including standardization of equipment, taking into account the efficiency and effectiveness of the total observing system (including ground systems), as well as consideration of the needs for the compatibility among satellite systems, particularly ground stations and product requirements;

(f) Maximizing the benefits to be derived from existing and planned satellite products and services in order to improve utilization of existing satellite data, products and services, and to provide for better coordination of these benefits for all WMO Members;

(g) Evaluating satellite missions to ensure, inter alia, the better use of existing and planned R&D missions in support of WMO Programmes and provide an assessment on their operational utility;

(h) Other relevant topics and issues as may be requested by Congress and the Executive Council.


5. Interests of developing countries

In all deliberations, the meetings should take into account the needs of developing countries to ensure that they keep up with advances in satellite products and services. In particular, attention should be given to the access to satellite data, products and services and appropriate education and training programmes, especially those at the WMO Regional Meteorological Training Centres.








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