October 2008

World Climate Conference-3


tentClimate prediction and information for decision-making
Geneva, Switzerland
31 August – 4 September 2009
Geneva International Conference Centre

Climate conditions have shaped, and will continue to shape, the cultures, traditions and development paths of societies throughout the world. While societies have succeeded in adapting to their regional mean climate conditions, they are, however, still affected by large deviations from the usual regional climate conditions.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (2007), there is amounting evidence of regional and global climate change. These changes will expose societies to climate conditions previously unknown to them, including, among others, high frequencies and intensities of severe weather and extreme climate events.

The risks of unknown magnitudes, associated with these changes and climate variability, will pose major threats to society and the environment that will significantly jeopardize the social and economic development of all communities, especially in the vulnerable communities of the developing and Least Developed Countries. Societies will require new approaches to cope with the new risks associated with climate change. The recent stress on global food supply and large loss of life associated with severe tropical storms provide us with dramatic examples of the challenges that the world would face as a result of a changed climate. The climate can provide or deny us life-supporting needs. It can lead to enhanced food production but also to extreme water stress, starvation, high levels of poverty and even loss of life.

Climate prediction and information services, coupled with appropriate coping systems, form an important set of tools that enable communities to adjust to shifts in climate conditions. Communities will increasingly need advice on a broad array of life-supporting needs, including appropriate crop selection, planting and harvesting dates, shelters, roads, aerodromes and drainage and water systems. The tourism sector, which forms a major source of revenue in many countries, will require skilful climate prediction and information services to provide human comfort, and sustain recreation and hotel facilities. Changes in climate conditions may pose a major challenge to wildlife management as a result of effects on migration corridors and the sustainability of unique species, as well as the comfort and safety of tourist facilities.

Climate change poses the greatest threat to the vulnerable communities of the developing and Least Developed Countries. Societies will require new approaches to cope with the new risks associated with climate change. (Photo: UNFPA)  

The 60th session of the WMO Executive Council (Geneva, Switzerland, 18-27June 2008) noted that skilful seasonal to interannual climate predictions, which form the focus of World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3), are essential to national adaptation efforts in response to climate variability and change. They provide society, governments, and climate-sensitive sectors with the tools needed to identify geographical areas, as well as periods of time that pose potential risks. Properly identifying these potential risks, coupled with activities that can help cope with expected climate conditions aids decision-makers at various levels to take appropriate contingency measures for the benefit of societies and institutions.

WCC-3 provides the world community with a unique opportunity to address the challenges associated with current climate variability so as to build societal resilience to the imminent effects of climate change. The diverse abilities and capacities of countries to provide and use climate prediction and information services, are fundamental to any global response to climate-related risks. The outcomes of WCC-3 will bridge the gap between the IPCC Assessment Reports and the services required to adapt to climate variability and change at regional and national levels. Furthermore, they will address the data and observational needs, which influence adaptation strategies, impact assessments and climate diagnostics and projections.

The organization of the Conference is progressing very well. Its success will be of benefit to both present and future generations. WMO encourages worldwide involvement in, and support of, this tremendously important conference to help ensure its success.

WCC-3 will advance the provision of better climate information for a better future.

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