April 2010

Recent events

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Workshop to improve Climate Science and Climate Change Monitoring / Brazil Welcomes WMO’s Initiatives for Farmers / South-West Pacific Region to strengthen defences against natural hazards / WMO booth at the Geneva International Book Fair / WMO participation in international Francophonie Day / Reducing Risks of Natural Disasters in Central America and the Caribbean / WMO implementing Web accessibility guidelines for people with disabilities

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Workshop to improve Climate Science and Climate Change Monitoring

About 120 scientists ended a three-day workshop at the WMO headquarters in Geneva on 1 April 2010 to explore ways to deliver ever more accurate and reliable observations of the Earth’s climate. Entitled “Measurement Challenges for Global Observation Systems for Climate Change Monitoring — Traceability, Stability and Uncertainty”, the workshop was jointly organised by WMO and the International Bureau for Weights and Measures (BIPM). Today, many of the challenges faced by climate science are indeed measurement challenges. For example, assessing the trends in concentrations of greenhouse gases and their regional sources and sinks, assessing the radiative impacts of these gases, and assessing the resulting changes in surface and atmospheric temperature. The workshop brought together the relevant scientific communities to debate and review the status of applied meteorology, with respect to metrological traceability, in eight specific theme areas. The outcomes will be published by WMO.

For more information on the workshop:
www.bipm.org/utils/en/pdf/WMO-BIPM_programme.pdf

Background information

 

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Brazil Welcomes WMO’s Initiatives for Farmers

On 18 March, a launch event was held in Brazil’s Minas Gerais State for two upcoming WMO events in July 2010. The “International Workshop on Addressing the Livelihood Crisis of Farmers: Weather and Climate Services” and the Fifteenth Session of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology (CAgM-XV) will be held in Belo Horizonte from 12 to 14 July and 15 to 21 July 2010 respectively. Antonio Augusto Anastasia, Vice Governor of the State of Minas Gerais, welcomed the WMO initiatives which would benefit the farming community worldwide. Mr Gilman Viana Rodrigues, State Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Supplies and Prof. Luiz Claudio Costa, Rector of the Federal University of Viçosa were among those who participated in the event. Dr Mannava Sivakumar, Director of the Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch of WMO, outlined the objectives of the July workshop. Experts from over 80 countries are expected to participate in the International Workshop and the CAgM-XV session.

More information

 

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South-West Pacific Region to strengthen defences against natural hazards

The 15th quadrennial meeting of WMO’s South-West Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in Bali, Indonesia, (30 April - 6 May 2010) addressed the region’s increasing vulnerability to climate change and natural hazards. In his inaugural address, WMO Secretary-General M. Jarraud noted that some NMHSs in the region have adopted new responsibilities such as geo-hazards and climate services, incorporating the provision of tsunami warnings. Highlighting the need to support NMHSs as investments in sustainable development and the protection of lives and property, he outlined some key issues for the Regional Association to consider. These include further improvement in forecasting and warning services through numerical weather prediction products; strengthening the role of NMHS in risk reduction coordination and multi-hazard early warning systems; and collaboration with relevant international and regional institutions.

 

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WMO booth at the Geneva International Book Fair

As WMO celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, it participated in the 24th International Book Fair held at the Palexpo in Geneva. WMO exhibits, in booth G-920, displayed several posters and brochures that depicted the world of meteorology and its services to society. Three publications were also on sale: Climate Sense, produced at the World Climate Conference-3; Skies and Oceans – Youthful perspectives, which contains a foreword by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; and From Weather Gods to Modern Meteorology – A philatelic journey. The Book Fair was open from 28 April to 2 May 2010.

 

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WMO participation in international Francophonie Day

To mark the International Francophonie Day (20 March), the United Nations Office at Geneva and the International Organization of La Francophonie held a roundtable discussion on “Multilingualism in international organizations: challenges of diversity” on  24 March at the Palais des Nations. WMO was represented by Ms Carine Richard-Van Maele, Chief of Communications and Public Affairs. Participants included Sergei Ordzhonikidze, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mohamed Siad Doualeh, Permanent Representative of Djibouti to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva and President of the Group of Francophone Ambassadors, and Libère Bararunyeretse, Permanent Observer of the International Organization of La Francophonie, besides representatives from WIPO, WHO, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

 

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Reducing Risks of Natural Disasters in Central America and the Caribbean

For the first time, WMO brought together all stakeholders involved in reducing impacts of extreme weather and water events in Central America and the Caribbean at the Multi-hazard early warning system workshop in San José, Costa Rica (22-25 March). Senior executives from the National Disaster Risk Management agencies, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, and all agencies supporting early warning systems in the region participated. The purpose was to enhance early warning system capacities for saving lives by fostering cooperation among all those involved and linking to latest developments in forecasting.

More information

 

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WMO implementing Web accessibility guidelines for people with disabilities

The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, endorsed by 140 countries, was adopted on 13 December 2006 by the UN General Assembly and entered into force in May 2008. The Convention has added impetus to the exercise of redesigning UN hosted websites so that they become more user-friendly for some 650 million people worldwide who live with disabilities.

As part of this effort, the WMO web team participated in a four-day workshop in February 2020 in Geneva that brought together 180 web specialists from 33 UN and other international organizations. In addition to representatives from WIPO ad the ITU, experts came from, among others, Adobe, the Mobile Web Initiative, The Royal National Institute for the Blind, and Yahoo. Guidelines and resources, such as those developed by the Worldwide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), are widely available and increasingly influencing web design.

The United Nations and its specialized agencies host a rich source of interesting and relevant content, including text, images, video and audio clips. The workshop helped to ensure that the system’s web developers are aware of and up to speed on best practices for web accessibility.

The WMO has already implemented some of the guidelines pertaining to visual tools and ergonomic presentation of information and will be completing some more changes by end of 2010. An effort is also being made to simplify meteorological information for end-users.

The term “disability” as stated in the Convention, “includes those people who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.” Thus, web accessibility can make a significant difference for anyone living with visual, audio, physical, cognitive and neurological disabilities. These might range from a mild condition, such as colour blindness, to more serious physical or motor disabilities.

 

 

 

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