The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is the UN system’s authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth’s atmosphere including its interaction with the oceans, the climate and water resources. Its leading role in the coordination of international climate issues dates back to 1929 when the International Meteorological Organization established Commission for Climatology (CCl).
It was WMO that, in 1976, issued the first authoritative statement on the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the potential impacts on climate. As a result in 1988, WMO and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) jointly established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been critical in providing regular assessments of climate science, potential impact of climate change and of policy options, including mitigation and adaptation to climate variability and change. Furthermore, WMO in cooperation with UNEP, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and International Council for Science (ICSU) established the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) to ensure systematic observation for climate change studies.
WMO considers United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other legal instruments such as the Kyoto Protocol to be the basis for future climate change debate and actions. Through a global partnership in capacity building, training, education and public awareness at all levels; WMO provides active support to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) such as eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental sustainability. Scientific evidence strongly suggests that the consequences of climate change are grave and have an adverse effect on societies, particularly in developing countries.
It is therefore essential that decision-makers are able to formulate their policies based on the latest unbiased, scientific data such as that provided by WMO and its Members the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs). On the other hand, WMO’s joint programmes such as the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) play a crucial role in narrowing uncertainties, particularly in the determination of the rate of climate change, the impacts on regional scales where society and environment are most vulnerable and the occurrence of extremes and sea level rise. All these activities are in line with a thrust of WMO’s Strategic Planning on building and enhancing partnerships and cooperation to strengthen and improve NMHSs’ performance in delivering services and to increase the value of the contributions of WMO within the United Nations system, relevant international conventions and national strategic issues.
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