Press Release No. 774
For use of the information media
International action plan for enhancing socio-economic benefits of weather, climate and water services
GENEVA/MADRID: 22 MARCH 2007 (WMO) – An International Conference today stressed the benefit of investing in weather, climate and water information and services in the light of their potential impacts on nearly all socio-economic sectors. It unanimously adopted an Action Plan with concrete steps for a major enhancement of such services over the next five years. This requires a strengthening of the capacities of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and a closer dialogue among providers and users of weather, climate and water information and services.
Such dialogue was initiated at the four day International Conference organized by the World Meteorological Organization under the Gracious Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain with the support of the Ministry of Environment of Spain, through the National Meteorological Institute. Some 500 participants from 115 countries attended the Conference “Secure and Sustainable Living: Social and Economic Benefits of Weather, Climate and Water Services. The purpose was to increase awareness of users to the opportunities afforded by weather, climate and water services, and to assist the providers of these services to understand more fully user requirements.
The International Conference unanimously adopted a Madrid Conference Statement and Action Plan, the overall objective of which is “to achieve, within five years, a major enhancement of the value to society of weather, climate and water information and services in response to the critical challenges represented by rapid urbanization, economic globalization, environmental degradation, natural hazards and the threats from climate change”.
Projections of climate change and climate variability have generated a growing sense of urgency for closer collaboration between NMHSs and the users of weather, climate and water information and services in key sectors, including agriculture and water resources, health, energy, transport, tourism.
The Madrid Action Plan calls for a quantum change in the way that weather, climate and water information and services are produced, used and communicated.
Steps need to be taken to meet the growing demand for such information and services. One is the strengthening of observational programmes, and the associated research and development. Delivery and distribution systems, including early warning systems, need to be improved to allow NMHSs to meet the needs of institutions, agencies and the general public.
The urban environment needs to be further analyzed as a critical ecosystem requiring targeted analysis, research and meteorological and hydrological services.
The Plan aims also at fostering increased recognition, by governments and other stakeholders, of the contribution by NMHSs and encourages the involvement of the social science research community for quantifying the benefits of the services provided by NMHSs within the various socio-economic sectors. New economic assessment techniques should be developed, including techniques of economic assessments especially for developing and least developed countries.
The Madrid Conference Statement underpinning the Action Plan states the resolve of the participants to draw to the attention of decision-makers everywhere, the large and growing impact of weather, climate and water influences on community safety and well-being around the world and the enormous potential benefits to be gained from improved and enhanced use of meteorological and hydrological services in decision-making in virtually every social and economic sector and every country.
WMO is the United Nations’ authoritative voice on weather, climate and water
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