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The World Meteorological Organization

The Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress


Facilities available at the International Conference Centre – Geneva

The World Meteorological Organization

Historical summary

International cooperation in the field of meteorology may be said to have begun in 1853, when an international conference on maritime meteorology was held in Brussels. Further conferences followed and in 1873 the first International Meteorological Congress was held in Vienna. This led to the formal establishment of the International Meteorological Organization (IMO).

Under IMO, procedures for ensuring international cooperation and collaboration in meteorology were successfully developed and put into operation and IMO continued to play a central role in supporting international meteorological initiatives. On 23 March 1950, the World Meteorological Organization was formally established and in April 1951, the functions and responsibilities of IMO were handed over to the newly created World Meteorological Organization (WMO); IMO then ceased to exist. This change in title was accompanied by a change in status: WMO was designated as an intergovernmental organization and a specialized agency of the United Nations (December 1951), whereas IMO had been a non-governmental organization.

The first World Meteorological Congress was held in 1951 in Paris, immediately following the last meeting of IMO. Subsequent sessions of Congress were held in Geneva in every four years, starting in 1955. In accordance with the established timetable, the Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress is taking place in Geneva from 16 May to 3 June 2011.


Structure of the Organization

The World Meteorological Congress brings together representatives of all Members (States and Territories) at least once every four years. As the supreme body of the World Meteorological Organization, it determines the Organization’s general policies, programmes and budget.

The Executive Council, as the executive body of the Organization, is entrusted with implementation of the decisions taken by the Members of the Organization. It meets at least once every year and prepares studies and recommendations on all questions of international interest in meteorology and operational hydrology. It provides Members of WMO with technical information and advice and assists them within the Organization’s terms of reference. It is composed of 37 directors of National Meteorological or Hydrometeorological Services. In the performance of their duties, the Executive Council members act as representatives of the Organization and not as representatives of their respective countries.

The present composition of the Executive Council is as follows (updated on 19 January 2011):

President:   Alexander I. BEDRITSKIY (Russian Federation)
First Vice-President:   Ali Mohammad NOORIAN (Islamic Republic of Iran)
Second Vice-President:   Tyrone W. SUTHERLAND (British Caribbean Territories)
Third Vice-President:   Antonio Divino MOURA (Brazil)
Ex officio members of the Executive Council (presidents of regional associations)
Africa (Region I):   Mamadou L. BAH (Guinea)
Asia (Region II):   Victor CHUB (Uzbekistan)
South America (Region III):   Myrna ARANEDA FUENTES (Ms) (Chile)
North America, Central America and the Caribbean (Region IV):   Arthur W. ROLLE (Bahamas)
South-West Pacific (Region V):   Sri Woro B. HARIJONO (Ms) (Indonesia)
Europe (Region VI):   Ivan ČAČIĆ (Croatia)
Members of the Executive Council (5 vacant seats):
Gerhard ADRIAN (Germany) (acting)
Anthony C. ANUFOROM (Nigeria) (acting)
Gregory Peter AYERS (Australia) (acting)
Ould Mohamed Laghdar BECHIR (Mauritania)
Héctor Horacio CIAPPESONI (Argentina)
Costante DE SIMONE (Italy) (acting)
Juan Carlos FALLAS SOJO (Costa Rica) (acting)
Ricardo GARCIA-HERRERA (Spain) (acting)
Neil D. GORDON (New Zealand) (acting)
David GRIMES (Canada)
Jack L. HAYES (United States of America) (acting)
John HIRST (United Kingdom) (acting)
François JACQ (France) (acting)
Linda MAKULENI (Ms) (South Africa)
Joseph Romanus MUKABANA (Kenya)
Mieczyslaw OSTOJSKI (Poland)
Petteri TAALAS (Finland) (acting)
Ajit TYAGI (India) (acting)
Franz UIRAB (Namibia)
YAP Kok Seng (Malaysia)
Guogang ZHENG (China)

There are six regional associations (for Africa; Asia; South America; North America, Central America and the Caribbean; South-West Pacific; and Europe) composed of Member States and Territories. They examine, from a regional point of view, all questions referred to them by the Executive Council and coordinate meteorological and hydrological activities within those Regions. On matters of regional interest, they are able to submit recommendations to Congress and the Executive Council.

The technical commissions, composed of experts designated by Members, are established by Congress to review matters related to the scientific and technical activities of the Organization. They develop technical recommendations, which are subsequently submitted to the Executive Council and Congress for approval. There are at present eight commissions, namely:

Commission for Basic Systems (CBS);
Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation (CIMO);
Commission for Atmospheric Sciences (CAS);
Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM);
Commission for Agricultural Meteorology (CAgM);
Commission for Hydrology (CHy);
Commission for Climatology (CCl);
WMO/IOC Joint Technical Commission on Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM).

The Secretariat, located in Geneva, Switzerland, completes the structure of WMO. Its international staff, under the direction of the Secretary-General, Mr M. Jarraud, carries out the technical and administrative work of the Organization. It undertakes technical studies, prepares specialized international publications, acts as secretariat during the meetings of various WMO bodies and generally serves as a link among Meteorological/Hydrometeorological Services of the world. Another of its tasks is to inform the general public and States that are not Members of the Organization of the activities of WMO and the decisions adopted by its constituent bodies.


The sixteenth World Meteorological Congress

In accordance with a decision taken by the Executive Council at its sixty-second session (Geneva, June 2010), the Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress has been convened to meet in the International Conference Centre – Geneva (CICG) (17, rue de Varembé, Geneva) from Monday, 16 May, to Friday, 3 June 2011.

In accordance with Article 7 of the WMO Convention, the Congress, as the supreme body of the Organization, is composed of delegates representing Members; each Member designates one of its delegates, who should be the Director of the Meteorological or Hydrometeorological Service, as its principal delegate. The other participants are as follows:

(a) Observers from non-Member States and Territories maintaining their own Meteorological or Hydrometeorological Service, as invited by decision of the Members;
(b) Presidents of technical commissions of the Organization invited in accordance with Article 19 of the Convention;
(c) Representatives of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, and other intergovernmental organizations, invited by virtue of existing agreements, working arrangements or other provisions for reciprocal representation;
(d) Representatives of non-governmental international organizations to which consultative status with WMO has been granted by the Executive Council;
(e) Representatives of other non-governmental international organizations invited in accordance with the provisions of General Regulation 18;
(f) Individual experts invited in a personal capacity in accordance with Article 7 of the Convention and General Regulation 18.


The President and the three Vice-Presidents of the Organization are the President and Vice-Presidents of the Sixteenth Congress by virtue of Article 4 of the Convention.

The following committees may be established by Congress in accordance with the provisions of General Regulations 22 and 24 to 31:

(a) A Credentials Committee, normally established immediately after the completion of the opening formalities and for the duration of the session, to examine the credentials of delegates and observers and report thereon;
(b) A Nomination Committee to prepare and submit to Congress a list of nominees for each office for which an election is to be held. If established, it consists of 12 principal delegates, with each Region being represented;
(c) A Coordination Committee to be responsible for coordinating the activities of the session. It consists of the President, the three Vice-Presidents, the Secretary-General and the chairs of working committees;
(d) Working committees as Congress may deem necessary to study certain agenda items for their subsequent submission to, and final approval by, the plenary meetings. With regard to the Sixteenth Congress, the WMO Bureau recommended the establishment of three working committees (A, B and C), not more than two of them working simultaneously and with, as far as possible, an equal distribution of work;
(e) In order to facilitate discussions on special issues, other subcommittees could be established. These might include subcommittees on the Technical and Financial Regulations, on the Programme and Budget for the Sixteenth Financial Period, and Global Framework for Climate Services. The Congress may also appoint rapporteur on Resolutions.

With the exception of the Coordination Committee, whose chair is normally the President of WMO, each Committee shall elect its own chair and, whenever necessary, other officers.


Credentials of delegations
General Regulation 20 provides that:
Prior to a session of a constituent body other than the Executive Council, each Member should, if possible, communicate to the Secretary-General the names of the persons composing its delegation to that body, indicating which of these shall be regarded as its principal delegate and, if necessary, alternate principal delegate (with indication of dates).

Besides this communication, a letter giving these particulars and otherwise conforming with the provisions of the Convention and of these Regulations and signed by, or on behalf of, an appropriate governmental authority of the Member shall be sent to the Secretary-General and shall be regarded as appropriate credentials for the participation of the individuals named therein in all activities of the constituent body.

The same procedure shall apply as regards the credentials of observers representing non-Member countries.

The credentials of observers representing international organizations shall be signed by the competent authority of the organization concerned.

All credentials that have not been sent to the Secretary-General should immediately, on arrival, be deposited by delegations with the officer-in-charge of credentials at the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk. All delegates and observers will have to be registered either in advance online or upon arrival at this desk and will receive their badges, which will constitute the pass for admission to the meetings. These passes are personal and non-transferable. The issuing of a pass does not prejudice the decision of Congress as to the credentials of the person concerned.


Admittance to meetings – entry passes
Only holders of passes issued by the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk will be admitted to meetings. All passes are strictly personal and non-transferable.

All participants will receive their passes upon arrival; they are expected to carry them at all times and to present them at the request of Security or Conference Services staff.

Participants may obtain passes for members of their families. Applications should be submitted in writing to the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk.

Members of Permanent Missions holding UN passes shall be admitted.

Press and radio correspondents, photographers and camera operators should first contact the Communications and Public Affairs Desk before proceeding to the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk, where the passes will be issued for them.

The public may obtain passes for public meetings by applying to the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk. These cards will be issued according to the space available. They are provided exclusively for admission to the public gallery and should be presented at any time at the request of Security or Conference Services staff.

Plenary meetings and working committee meetings will be public; any meetings of other committees and subcommittees will normally be private.


List of participants
A provisional list of delegates and observers will be distributed shortly after the beginning of the session. This list will be revised and redistributed upon final registration of all participants.

Delegations are requested to notify the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk of any changes in the composition of the delegation during the session.

Opening of the session
The formal opening of the Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress will take place at 10 a.m. on 16 May 2011 at the International Conference Centre – Geneva (17, rue de Varembé).

The annotated provisional agenda for the Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress is given in Cg-XVI/Doc. 1.3(2). It will be submitted for approval by Congress as soon as possible after the opening of the session. In accordance with General Regulation 138, the agenda may be amended by Congress at any time. The tentative work plan is given in Cg-XVI/INF. 1.6 REV. 1.


Time and place of meetings
A daily timetable of meetings will be published in the Congress Journal, which will be issued online in English and French. It will also be made available in a limited number of paper copies to delegates and observers early each morning. The timetable will be displayed on notice boards in the lobby as well.

Plenary meetings of Congress will be held in Salle I. As decided by the Executive Council at its sixty-second session, delegations will sit in alphabetical order based on the names of the Members of the Organization as spelled in French, starting from the front of the hall and beginning with Vanuatu. A plan showing the places of delegations and observers will be posted at the entrance. Seating arrangements will be made in accordance with information received by the Secretariat prior to the session.

Every person wishing to attend plenary sessions will have to access the Salle I through one of the two side doors at the lower end of this room, where his/her badge will be screened. This will allow for automated registration of attendance so that it can be determined whether a quorum has been attained.

Working committees A, B and C will be held in Salle I, II and III, respectively.

Small conference rooms will be available for meetings of the Credentials Committee, the Nomination Committee, the Coordination Committee, subcommittees and side events. The daily allocation of schedule of these meetings and rooms will be announced in the Congress Journal and on the electronic notice board in the entrance hall.


The documents for Sixteenth Congress will be in 5 categories, namely:

(a) Main supporting documents, bearing the prefix Cg-XVI/Doc. item number (document number);
(b) Information papers, bearing the prefix Cg-XVI/INF.;
(c) Minutes of the plenary meetings, prefixed Cg-XVI/MIN.;
(d) Working papers of such committees as Congress may establish, which will bear the prefix
Cg-XVI/-/WP/Committee, item number (document number), preceded by a letter code referring to the committee concerned;
(e) PINK documents, prefixed by Cg-XVI/PINK, item number (document number), are reports of working committees submitted to plenary meetings and any reports presented directly to the plenary meeting for approval;

In accordance with General Regulation 118 and the decisions of the Executive Council, Congress documents in categories (a), (d) and (e) above will be issued in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Documents in categories (b) and (c) will be issued in English and French only.

Detailed information on the tentative work plan for Congress is given in Cg-XVI/INF. 1.6 REV. 1, copies of which will be available at the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk.


Documents submitted by delegations
Documents and written inputs submitted by a delegation should be in one of the six official and working languages of the Organization and must be submitted in the name of the Member(s) concerned and not in the name of an individual. Documents will be channelled through the Secretary of the relevant Working Committee.

The attention of delegations is drawn to General Regulation 139 which states that “except by decision of Congress, a new item of business shall not be definitely settled unless it has been included in an order of business and distributed with pertinent documentation at least 18 hours before”.

Distribution of documents
The distribution of all Congress documents to participants at the session will be carried out according to the following plan:

(a) All documents will be systematically posted on the ftp server, at the following address:;
(b) From Monday to Saturday noon, all documents issued will be placed in the pigeonholes located in the entrance hall, with one copy per delegation;
(c) In exceptional cases and with the agreement of the Congress, documents may be distributed during meetings.

In order to minimize the carbon footprint of Congress, only one copy of documents will be distributed to each delegation. Delegations that do not wish to receive paper copies at all should notify the Registration, Information and Documentation Desk to this effect, so that the print run can be adjusted accordingly. CICG is equipped with Wi-Fi, allowing delegates with notebooks to electronically access documents as necessary.


In accordance with General Regulation 118, the official and working languages of the Organization are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Simultaneous interpretation into these languages will be provided for the plenary meetings and the meetings of Working Committees A, B and C. In addition, if funds are available, Portuguese interpretation will be provided for plenary meetings. Instructions for using the earphone and microphone sets will be found on each desk. Information will also be provided to selected meetings of Congress subcommittees with available resources.

Records of meetings
In accordance with General Regulation 111, the Secretariat should prepare summarized minutes for each plenary meeting of Congress, unless this Regulation is suspended. The minutes will be distributed as soon as possible to all delegates and persons taking part in the meeting, who, within 48 hours, may submit any proposed corrections to the Secretariat. These corrections should be handed to the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk. The minutes will subsequently be submitted to a plenary meeting for approval.

If required, written minutes of plenary meetings will be prepared on the basis of notes taken by the minute-writers attending the meeting. Alternatively, the audio recordings of plenary sessions will constitute the verbatim records.

Delegates who wish to read a statement should supply in advance eight copies for the interpreters. These copies should be handed to the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk together with an electronic version to be sent to cnf mail. Statements of High-level segment only will be posted on the Congress portal on the WMO Website after they have been delivered.

Delegates are requested to hand over to the Secretariat representative texts of other statements or proposed amendments to the texts in the working papers or PINKS. These texts could also be sent to generic e-mail for each working body:

plenary mail

committee B mail

committee A mail

committee C mail

No records will be taken of meetings of the working committees or the subcommittees.


Report of the session
The provisional edition of the abridged report of Sixteenth Congress will be made up of all texts included in the appendices to the PINK documents, i.e. both general summary and resolutions approved by Congress in plenary meetings. It will also include the list of participants.

Congress Journal
The Secretariat will issue and distribute to participants the Congress Journal. The Journal will be published in English and French. It will be issued daily and will be available in a limited number of copies at the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk and online at The contents of each issue of the Journal will normally be as follows:

(a) The time, place and programme of meetings on the day of publication, together with the order of business for each meeting;
(b) A list of documents issued since the distribution of the previous issue of the Journal;
(c) Announcements of general interest made by the officers of Congress, delegations and the Secretariat.

The Congress Journal is to be issued for information purposes only, and will not have the status of an official Congress document.

Material for inclusion in the Congress Journal on a particular day should be handed to the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk before 5 p.m. on the previous day. Material that is in a language other than English or French cannot be included in the Journal. All inquiries concerning the Journal should be addressed to the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk.


Press and public information
Within the limits of available space and upon presentation of entry passes, accredited representatives of the media will be admitted to all plenary meetings unless Congress decides otherwise. Committee and subcommittee meetings are normally not public.

Documents of the session will be available for download at

Press releases containing short summaries of the main decisions of Congress will be issued.

All inquiries concerning public information, including requests for interviews, should be referred to the Communications and Public Affairs Desk (mail).

In accordance with a recommendation made by Fifteenth Congress, a METEOHYDEX exhibition will be organized on the ground floor and in the basement of the CICG building on the occasion of Sixteenth Congress. The exhibition will take place from 23 to 25 May 2011.

The exhibition is normally restricted to Congress participants. A catalogue containing a list of exhibitors and a brief description of the equipment exhibited will be distributed to Congress participants.

The METEOHYDEX exhibition will be organized by GENEVA PALEXPO, the non-profit institution that has organized previous METEOHYDEX events.

Secretariat of the Congress
A list of the Secretariat offices, with office and telephone numbers, will be issued as a separate information paper.

The Secretariat of the World Meteorological Organization
7 bis, avenue de la Paix
tel. +41 (0)22 730 81 11
WMO mail
will be open to visitors every weekday.

Delegates’ mail – lost property
The Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk will collect and deliver mail addressed to participants. The same desk will also deal with lost property.


Facilities available at the International Conference Centre – Geneva

International Conference Centre – Geneva (CICG)
The Conference Centre is located near the Place des Nations. A plan showing the location of CICG, the WMO Headquarters building and other international organizations can be found at The conference rooms are situated in the centre of the Conference Centre. The way to the various rooms will be indicated by signboards. Conference Services staff will be available to assist delegates. Personal computers with Internet connections will be at the disposal of participants in the Conference Centre. The Conference Centre has a wi-fi system for wireless connection of computers to the Internet. Instructions for connectivity will be available at the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk. It is recommended that participants bring their own plug adapters to enable them to plug into Swiss power sockets. A limited number of adapters will be available on loan from the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk. There are no hard-wired Internet connections in the conference rooms. Cell phones should be switched off in the conference rooms.

Access to the CICG
Entrance to the building is through the main doors at 17, rue de Varembé.

Parking facilities
Parking at and around the main entrance of the Conference Centre is not allowed. In the streets adjoining the Conference Centre, parking is available for limited periods only.

There is, however, a large underground car park (“Parking de la Place des Nations”) open day and night, in the vicinity of CICG near the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Headquarters building. A limited number of entrance cards will be available for purchase from the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk.

Local transportation and taxis
A shuttle service will operate between WMO Headquarters and the Conference Centre. Bus numbers 5 and 8 and tram numbers 13 and 15 stop at the nearby Place des Nations and run to and from the centre of the city and the railway station (Place Cornavin). This service connects with all the Geneva tram, trolleybus and motorbus routes. In addition, bus numbers 11 and 22 pass close to the Conference Centre, connecting the Jardin Botanique/Place des Nations with Bout du Monde/Gare des Eaux-Vives and Carouge, respectively. Public transportation schedules can be found online at:

Taxis can be obtained through the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk.


Post and telecommunications
There is a Post Office to the left of the rue de Varembé entrance to the Conference Centre.

Telephone booths are located at various points in the building. Phone cards or credit cards may be used.

Mail for delegates may be sent to the following address:
Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress
Centre international de conférences de Genève
17, rue de Varembé
CH-1211 GENEVA 20

Mail can also be sent through the WMO Secretariat at its usual address.

The telephone number of the Conference Centre is +41 (0)22 791 91 11.

The fax number of the Conference Centre is +41 (0)22 791 90 64.

Fax messages may also be sent to the WMO Secretariat (+41 (0)22 730 81 81).

Office accommodation in WMO building
A limited number of offices will be made available in the WMO building for rental during Cg-XVI. Delegations wishing to rent office facilities are requested to send a request specifying their needs to the Conference Services (cnf mail).

A branch office of the Union de Banques Suisses (UBS) is located on Chemin Louis-Dunant across from the Conference Centre.

An unattended cloakroom is available to delegates in the entrance hall of the Conference Centre.

Quiet room
A quiet room for meditation, prayer, retreat and reflection will be available to delegates on the 3rd floor of the CICG, in room 20.

Restaurant, bar and cafeteria
A restaurant, bar and cafeteria are available in the CICG and in the vicinity of the conference rooms. Arrangements can be made for the organization of receptions through the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk.

Medical service
A medical service is available in the Palais des Nations, where qualified personnel are on duty throughout the day. Appointments can be arranged through the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk. After 5:30 p.m. delegates may go to the “Permanence Médicale” located in the immediate vicinity at 9A, rue de Vermont, which is open 24 hours, 7 days a week (Tel.: (+41 (0)22 734 5150).

For medical emergencies there is a first-aid station located at CICG.


Duty-free fuel and shopping
In order to obtain duty-free shop passes and cards for supply of duty-free petrol, delegates should apply to the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk. Cards granting the right to buy duty-free fuel must be returned upon expiration.

Travel and entertainment
Delegates may make any travel arrangements or reservations for their return journey through the accredited travel agency located at WMO Headquarters; the American Express Travel Agency,
tel.: (+41 (0)22 730 80 15, e-mail:amex mail.

Information relating to customs formalities and visas, as well as to local travel, weekend resorts, sports, theatres, performances and other activities can also be obtained from the travel agency.

Arrangements have been made for some weekend excursions. Details of these excursions will be published in the Congress Journal together with information concerning receptions and other official entertainment.

It is suggested that delegations intending to arrange receptions consult the office of the Secretary-General for advice and assistance. This should be done as soon as possible in order to avoid any scheduling conflicts.

Delegates who are accompanied by their spouses can obtain copies of a programme of outings and other events from the Conference Registration, Information and Documentation Desk.




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