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Executive Council57th session

The 57th session of the Executive Council met at WMO Headquarters in Geneva from 21 June to 1 July under the chairmanship of the President, Dr A. Bedrisky (Russian Federation). It agreed on institutional and substantive actions aimed at increasing the Organizations responsiveness to societal needs through enhanced applications of forecasts and science in the areas of weather, climate and water.   

With the objective of improving governance and productivity, the WMO Executive Council, at the outset, adopted a radically new operational mode, changing the format of its discussions which took place in plenary only and streamlining procedures whereby the focus was placed on action-oriented parts of documents. The Secretary-General of WMO, Mr Michel Jarraud, stated that this new style had facilitated more rapid, well-informed decision taking, while enhancing also a more integrated approach to strategic needs for the implementation of the WMO Long-term Plan (2004-2007). The Council welcomed the forward-looking, cross-cutting approach geared towards increased interaction among WMO programmes and activities. It expressed satisfaction about the improvement in the management culture of the Organization in the context of the ongoing overall reform process, with the emphasis being placed on integrity, transparency and efficiency. 

The Council called for close cooperation of WMO with other international organizations in the implementation of international strategies and Plans of Action, including the Mauritius Strategy  for the sustainable development of small Small Island Developing States, the Hyogo Declaration for disaster reduction and the UN Millennium Declaration. 

It also approved the participation of WMO in the International Flood Initiative, a multidisciplinary effort aimed at promoting an integrated approach to flood management, in which the WMO will cooperate with partners such as UNESCO, the United Nations University and the International Association of Hydrological Sciences.  

Focus on Least Developed Countries 

Actions agreed upon by the Council should help developing countries, in particular the least developed among them (LDCs), raise the level of services in meteorology and hydrology, notably through capacity-building. The Council called upon Members to assist  LDCs to be able to provide a minimum set of products and services to their respective government and users. Efforts will be made to help the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of those countries maintain and develop observing systems, as well as to enable them to benefit fully from the latest advances in numerical weather prediction. For instance, the WMO Demonstration Project on Severe Weather Forecasting will be strengthened to ensure that developing countries will benefit as soon as possible in building capacity in early warning from the use of improved and specialized forecast products.  

Action towards a multi-hazard prevention and mitigation strategy 

The Council emphasized that WMOs core technical and scientific capabilities should be optimally integrated into disaster risk reduction strategies at the international, regional and national levels. As an immediate step, WMO will carry out, within a multi-hazard framework, a comprehensive survey and mapping of regional and national capabilities, factoring in the requirements of the disaster disaster risk-management community. Furthermore, WMO will work on strengthening contributions by NMHSs to hydrometeorological risk assessment at the national level. WMOis firmly committed to participate in key international endeavours, including: the Global Survey of the Early Warning Systems requested by the UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, in his report to the General Assembly in Larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all, (A/59/2005, 21 March 2005); and the International Early Warning Conference III, which will be hosted by Germany in March 2006.   

The Council supported WMOs contributions to the establishment of the Tsunami Warning System in the Indian Ocean, which is being developed jointly with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the UN Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and other international and regional agencies. The WMO Global Telecommunication System (GTS), which interconnects all NMHSs, is being upgraded to address information exchange needs for tsunami in the Indian Ocean.  The GTS is currently utilized for data collection and dissemination in the Pacific Tsunami Early Warning Systems.   

Furthermore, WMO is assisting those NMHSs which have been designated as national Tsunami Focal Points in issuing effective warnings and in their educational and public outreach programmes within a multi-hazard framework. The Council also called on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to make its environmental observations available to support early warnings of selected natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis.  

Improving forecasts and climate watch 

The Council applauded  the WMO programme called THORPEX, aimed at accelerating improvements in 1- to 14-day weather forecasts, especially for high-impact weather associated with cyclones of extra-tropical and tropical origin, by making numerical probabilistic ensemble weather-forecasting techniques accessible for all developing countries.  The purpose is to provide accurate and timely weather warnings, and weather impact assessments,  in a form that can be readily used for deciding on tools and strategies to reduce the impact of natural hazards.

Furthermore, the Council encouraged WMO to set up an appropriate mechanism to promote the establishment of Regional Climate Watch Systems for large-scale phenomena, as well as of national systems that can issue warnings at the national level.

Contribution to GEOSS highlighted 

Recognizing WMO as a core contributor to the implementation of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), the Council called for efforts to strengthen the coordination needed to warrant the interoperability of existing systems and the progressive integration of future ones. 

The Council was optimistic that the implementation of GEOSS would contribute to improved decision-making and support to nations in several vital socio-economic sectors.

New information products about ozone 

Other decisions taken by the Council aim to strengthen the role of WMO in the implementation of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (which will celebrate its 20th anniversary on 21 September 2005) and in support of decision-making on climate and environmental issues. In addition to its regular Antarctic Ozone Bulletins, WMO will issue advisories on other ozone depletion in the Arctic;  the state of recovery of global ozone with the reduction of ozone-destroying halocarbons and global warming; and an annual WMO Bulletin on Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases.

International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 

The Council endorsed the fundamental concept of the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008: an intensive burst of internationally coordinated, interdisciplinary, scientific research and observations focused on the Earths polar regions. It endorsed research and operational activities planned by WMO as a co-leading agency for the IPY. These activities are expected to generate comprehensive datasets and scientific findings that will promote protection of the environment and improve forecasting systems, in particular for the prediction of severe weather phenomena, and will also serve as a scientific basis for socio-economic planning and sustainable development.   

International Conference on Economic and Social Benefits  

An International Conference on the Economic and Social Benefits of Meteorological and Hydrological Services will be convened in 2007 to demonstrate the contribution of NMHSs through research and operational activities in the areas of weather, climate and water to the realization of national development goals.  This major event will bring together representatives of NMHSs, decision-makers, user groups, development planners, economists and social scientists.  


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