WMO participates in World Water Week
"Water Cooperation - Building Partnerships" is the theme of World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, September 1-6. The World Meteorological Organization is participating in a number of events highlighting the need for coordinated action to manage and protect water resources which face increasing pressures as a result of climate change, socio-economic development and population growth.
Water is one of the priority areas of the Global Framework for Climate Services, an international partnership of governments and organizations that produce and use climate information and services. Spearheaded by WMO with the support of a wide range of partner agencies, this groundbreaking initiative is meant to improve the quality and quantity of climate services worldwide in order to strengthen water resources management, reduce the impact of climate-related disasters, improve food security, and enhance health outcomes.
In view of evolving water-related risks and challenges, the Global Framework for Climate Services is intended to establish a permanent dialogue between meteorological and hydrological services which provide climate information and the user community including city and coastal planners, agricultural and land managers and the transport and energy sector.
High quality climate services are an essential part of coordinated, multi-disciplinary strategies for drought and flood management. The value of an integrated approach will be examined at a side event Sunday 1 September convened by WMO, the Global Water Partnership and UNESCO on Stakeholders’ Contribution to Drought and Flood Management.
Representatives of climate and hydrology services providers and the users of these services, including water supply managers, farmers and engineers, will be involved in this side event.
Droughts are slow-onset events that cause more loss of lives, livelihoods and permanent displacement of people than cyclones, floods and earthquakes combined. From 1991 to 2000, drought took over 280,000 lives and cost billions of US dollars in damage. Droughts are expected to increase in frequency, area and intensity due to climate change.
WMO and its partners are working on science-based foundations for practical and proactive drought policies at national level to make drought-prone countries more resilient. A High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy in March 2013 launched a coordinated drive towards science-based drought disaster risk reduction and away from piecemeal and costly crisis-response. A new Integrated Drought Management Programme established by WMO and the Global Water Partnership will help improve monitoring and prevention of drought. The new programme capitalizes on the success of the Associated Programme on Flood Management and will focus on the sharing of scientific information, knowledge and best practices to advise policies and management approaches in the development of short and long-term drought management plans and actions. The Programme will be demand-driven and tailored to specific regional and national needs.
The number of people living in the path of potentially devastating floods is set to double to 2 billion within a couple generations as a result of population growth, changes in land use, economic development and climate change. However, floods also generate significant economic and ecological benefits. In many countries, flood waters are an essential water resource, floodplains contribute significantly to agricultural production and freshwater inflows to estuaries are important to fisheries. The concept of Integrated Flood Management has become established over the last decade to maximize the net-benefits from floods and minimize losses of life, livelihoods and infrastructure.
Traditionally, flood management has focussed on prevention, with emphasis placed on structural protection and rapid drainage systems. Integrated Flood Management aims at coordinating social, economic, environmental, legal and institutional aspects with an emphasis on flood risk awareness as well as preparedness, response and recovery measures. It promotes understanding of floods not only among planners but among all stakeholders, including local communities.
WMO has a booth at World Water Week. Senior WMO representatives will participate in events throughout the week, as will WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, who holds the rotating chair of UN-Water.