WMO and IFRC sign agreement to strengthen cooperation on tackling climate risks
Responding to concerns over the increasing frequency, severity and cost of disasters related to extreme weather and climate events, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen their collaboration on reducing the risks of climate-related hazards.
WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud and IFRC Secretary General Bekele Geleta signed the agreement in Geneva today on the sidelines of the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services. The Board oversees the implementation of the Global Framework on Climate Services (GFCS), a global partnership of governments and organizations that produce and use climate services to address climate variability and change.
The memorandum reflects the importance of making science-based climate information and prediction accessible and understandable to local actors and communities to reduce the risk of climate-related disasters.
“The IFRC’s 187 National Societies work closely with many of the world’s most vulnerable communities,” said Mr Jarraud. “The WMO-IFRC partnership will continue to play a vital role in empowering these communities to respond to climate-related disasters and risks.”
WMO and the IFRC have worked together for decades, particularly on disaster risk reduction. The agreement sets out the intention of the two organizations to strengthen their cooperation on disaster risk reduction, including through joint activities on building capacity and promoting public education and awareness.
According to Mr Geleta, the partnership will pave the way for the Red Cross Red Crescent to provide improved services for those most vulnerable to climate-related hazards. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and their extensive network of volunteers are uniquely positioned to help communities anticipate, plan for and respond to disasters and reduce risks associated with climate variability and change.
“While progress has been made in building effective early warning systems, we must all continue to develop and improve if our interventions are to be effective and responsive to the changing needs,” said Mr Geleta.
“Public education and awareness of the early warning, early action approach will also build the resilience of communities and give vulnerable people the tools and knowledge they need to improve – and even save – their own lives. The information must be accessible and comprehensible by end users,” he added.
The IFRC also commended the leadership of the WMO for its work on establishing the GFCS and pledged its commitment to continue working closely with WMO and other partners to transform policy into action.
The mandates of the WMO and the IFRC are fully complementary. WMO is 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. The IFRC is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 187 member National Societies.
More information: www.GFCS-climate.org, www.wmo.int or www.ifrc.org