Volume 62 (Special Issue) - 2013

In this issue

In 2009 when world leaders from 155 countries agreed to establish a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), a challenge was launched to both the scientific community and the users of climate services to galvanize collaborative efforts to develop effective climate services in support of decision-making.

A High Level Taskforce of scientific and political spheres produced a blue print toprovide guidance on the focus of the Framework. With this the GFCS entered in motion. An Implementation Plan containing Annexes, detailing the essential elements needed for its operation, and Exemplars, providing details on what needs to be done to enable better application of climate services in the four initial priority areas (agriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction, health and water resources management), was developed and approved by the World Meteorological Congress Extraordinary Session 2012.

In this issue, “What do we mean by Climate Services?” discusses the practical aspects of GFCS implementation while “Reconciling Post-Positivist and Post-Modern Worldviews in Climate Research and Services” provides a philosophical discussion of the implementation. However, capacity development – essential to effectively support the initial GFCS priority areas – is inspiring all the work being undertaken. GFCS implementation involves extensive consultations with various stakeholders and communities of define good practices. Pilot projects have been initiated in order to identify the critical steps to be taken into consideration as implementation moves forward. “Localizing Climate Information Services for Agriculture” highlights some the lessons learnt through capacity development by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The good practices presented in that article and others are helping in the development of guidelines that Members can use to facilitate the establishment of appropriate mechanisms to promote cooperation and collaboration among key stakeholders, particularly at the national level. The GFCS calls for countries to establish their own national frameworks in order to identify and coordinate activities relating to the development and provision of climate information, products and services to meet national needs. “From global to regional to national: building operational climate services” introduces the work of the WMO GFCS Office and its partners to launch national processes in several regions. The experience of the United Kingdom in developing its national framework – Climate Service UK – is highlighted in “The Application of Climate Science to Benefit Society.” While “Climate Effects of China Three Gorges Project” presents an exemplary case of climate information services in the water sector.

Early collaborative actions with partner agencies in the UN system are providing concrete results of the type of benefits that society can derive from implementation of the GFCS. The Atlas of Health and Climate, showing the geographical spread and magnitude of health issues related to climate and providing various examples on the production and application of climate services to mitigate health risks, is a good example. “Clim-Health Africa,” goes one step further. The WHO-led Climate and Health Consortium for Africa (Clim-Health Africa), in which WMO plays a leading role, will address climate change in general and its health impacts in particular in order to strengthen the resilience of African countries and communities by improving management of the effects on public health of climate variability and change.

WMO is also planning the release of a second atlas in November 2013, this time with the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) at the Université Catholique de Louvain. The “Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Water and Climate Extremes (1970 - 2009),” will provide some perspective of the toll of disasters related to meteorological, hydrological and climate hazards disasters around the world. The WMO centerfold presents some of the early results of analysis of CRED EM-DAT.

With climate changes comes a risk of more intense and frequent weather, climate and water related disasters. “Weather and Climate Resilience” highlights the key findings of a World Bank study on how to build preparedness through National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS).

The above articles and partnership demonstrate that implementation of the GFCS is now well underway, but will require full support, including investment/funding for institutional, procedural, infrastructural and human capacity development. “Funding the Global Framework for Climate Services” looks into the challenges and opportunities for GFCS, while “Norwegian Support for the Global Framework for Climate Services” discusses motivations from a donor country’s perspective.

IBCS

The Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services (IBCS) represents an important milestone as it will set the direction and provide guidance on the implementation of the GFCS in the years to come. It will pave the way for
improved decision-making in climate sensitive sectors and support adaptation to climate variability and change.

The challenge ahead of us is enormous but there are many benefits to be accrued through the implementation of the GFCS. By working together we will enhance decision-making in disaster risk reduction, water resources management, health, agriculture and food security. These are the priorities of the GFCS.

 

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