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Last updated: 16 August 2018

About the WMO DRR Programme

In 2003, the fourteenth World Meteorological Congress (Cg-XIV) established the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Programme to strengthen capacities for provision of meteorological, hydrological and climate services of its Members and its operational and research networks to support various aspects of DRR decision-making at the international, regional and national levels.


"To enhance the contributions of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), in a more cost-effective, systematic and sustainable manner, towards the protection of lives, livelihoods and property, through enhanced capabilities and cooperation in the field of disaster risk reduction at national to international levels."

Long-term Objective

The long-term objective of the WMO DRR Programme is to contribute to the strengthening of institutional capacities with respect to the provision of meteorological, hydrological and climate services and cooperation in supporting DRR for the protection of lives and property and contributing to sustainable development of Members.

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of the WMO DRR Programme is to assist WMO Members to provide and deliver services that are directed towards the protection of lives, livelihoods and property, in a cost-effective, systematic and sustainable manner.

The scope of the Programme is defined through its five strategic goals underpinned by the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters (HFA) and approved by WMO Congress XVI in 2011:
  1. Development, improvement and sustainability of early warning systems (EWS) in particular related to scientific and technical infrastructures, systems and capabilities for research, observing, detecting, forecasting and warnings of weather-, water- and climate-related hazards;
  2. Development, improvement and sustainability of standardized hazard databases and metadata, systems, methods, tools and applications of modern technologies such as geographical information systems for recording, analyzing and providing hazard information for risk assessment, sectoral planning, risk transfer and other informed decision-making;
  3. Development and delivery of warnings, specialized forecasts and other products and services that are timely, understandable to those at risk and driven by requirements of disaster risk reduction decision processes and operations engaging socio-economic sectors;
  4. Stimulate a culture of resilience and prevention through strengthening of capacities for better integration of meteorological, hydrological and climate products and services in disaster risk reduction across all socio economic sectors, such as land use planning and infrastructure design and continued public education and outreach campaigns; and,
  5. Strengthening cooperation and partnerships of WMO and NMHSs in national, regional and international user forums, mechanisms and structures for implementation of disaster risk reduction.


The guidance and oversight to the DRR Programme is provided by the WMO Executive Council Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction (EC WG/DRR). The EC WG/DRR was established by the sixty-seventh session of the WMO Executive Council (EC-67) in 2015, through Resolution 5 (EC-67), in consideration of the decisions by the seventeenth World Meteorological Congress (Cg-17). It replaced the Executive Council Working Group on Service Delivery (EC WG/SD) which  until then had served as the oversight mechanism for the DRR Programme.

Weather, Climate and Hydrological Services to Support DRR Decision-Making

As countries are strengthening their institutional capacities in DRR, there is increasing need for core and customized meteorological, hydrological and climate services by a diverse group of DRR stakeholders (e.g. government authorities, public and private sectors, Non-Governmental Organizations, general public and media). 

Meteorological, hydrological and climate services are fundamental in supporting a number of decision areas such as early warning, emergency response operations, sectoral preparedness planning, inventory management, insurance contracts, strategy and scenario building, infrastructure investments and land zoning, government risk financing, and international policy negotiation (see Figure 2 under "DRR Home").

Through its crosscutting DRR Programme, WMO is working to align the activities of its constituent bodies, technical programmes and global operational network and its strategic partners to strengthen NMHSs to (Figure 1 below):

  1. Engage effectively in the National DRR governance and institutional frameworks;
  2. Identify, prioritize, establish partnerships and service delivery agreements with national DRR user community engaged in various DRR activities such as risk analysis, multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWS), sectoral risk management, disaster risk financing and transfer;
  3. Develop and deliver core and specialized products and services (e.g., data, forecasts, analysis, technical advices and a range of other value-added products and services) defined by the requirements of the “DRR users” for DRR decision support (e.g., hazard/risk analysis, MHEWS, sectoral risk management and disaster risk financing and risk transfer) in a cost-effective, systematic and sustainable manner;
  4. Ensure that core operational capacities (e.g., observing networks, forecasting systems, telecommunication systems, data management systems, human resources, etc.) are built upon the principles of Quality Management Systems (QMS) to support product and service development and delivery;
  5. Establish partnership agreements with other national technical agencies (e.g., hydrological services, ocean services) and with global and regional specialized centres (e.g. Global Producing Centres (GPC), Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres (RSMCs), Regional Climate Centres (RCC), Tsunami Watch Centres, etc.), with standard operating procedures; and,
  6. Engage in regional and global efforts for development of risk information for large scale and trans-boundary hazards- through strengthened regional and global cooperation.

Link NMHSs with DRR stakeholders

Figure 1: Schematic representation of linkages between NMHSs and DRR stakeholders.

Benchmarking National Meteorological, Hydrological and Climate Capacities to Support DRR Decision-making

In 2006, WMO conducted a national survey to benchmark existing capacities, gaps and needs of its Members for development of meteorological, hydrological and climate-related information to support DRR. The national survey addressed capacities of NMHSs to contribute to all aspects of disaster risk reduction including risk identification, sectoral planning, EWS, education and knowledge sharing. Of the 187 Members of WMO at the time, 139 (74 %) countries participated in this survey.

The overall results of the assessments show that more than 60% of NMHSs indicated the need for appropriate observing networks, human and financial resources to maintain them, data rescue programmes and data management systems. Nearly 70% of NMHSs require guidelines for maintaining standard databases of hazards, metadata and tools for hazard analysis, Furthermore, there is need for development of disaster impact databases for various sectors as well as hazard and risk analysis tools for quantification of exposure and vulnerabilities (e.g. casualties, construction damages, crop yield reduction, and water shortages). The results of the survey have been synthesized into a report Capacity Assessment of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in Support of Disaster Risk Reduction.

WMO DRR Roadmap

The WMO DRR Roadmap is that aligns the WMO DRR Programme with the DRR aspects of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, above all the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030. See the dedicated WMO DRR Roadmap page here.

WMO DRR Work Plans

Based on the assessment of the capacities, gaps and needs, the DRR Services of WMO aim to facilitate better alignment of the activities of WMO constituent bodies, technical programmes and global operational network as well as its strategic partners to support capacity development of NMHSs. This is achieved through a two-tier implementation approach (Figure 2):

  1. Development of thematic guidelines, standards and training modules based on the documentation and synthesis of good practices; and,
  2. Coordinated national and regional capacity development projects addressing DRR and climate change adaptation.

Two Tier Work Plan

Figure 2: Two-tier schematic of the implementation approach of the WMO DRR Programme

Starting points for the activities and deliverables are:

  • Resolutions, decisions and requests by Cg-17 in 2015 and EC-70 in 2018 as well as decisions and requests by previous Congresses and Executive Councils which are still valid;
  • Recommendations by the the EC WG/DRR and its sub-groups;
  • The overall framework (Figure 1) and implementation approach (Figure 2) by the DRR Programme as provided and further detailed in the DRR Roadmap; and,
  • Key WMO internal as well as external meetings which require adequate inputs and yield relevant outputs.

The DRR Work Plans are the near term elements of the WMO DRR Roadmap Implementation Plan.





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