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Commission for Hydrology (CHy)twelfth session

The session was held in Geneva from 20 to 29 October 2004. A record number of more than 160 delegates from the National Hydrological and Meteorological Services of 55 countries and representatives of international organizations attended. CHy is one of eight technical commissions which advise in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the scientific programmes of WMO. The Commission discussed the way forward in water-resources development as a means of attaining socio-economic benefit for all nations.

The Commission addressed the issue of building the capacities of National Hydrological Services (NHss) in water-resources monitoring, extreme hydrological events forecasting and assessing the long term effects of climate change and variability on the availablity of freshwater. The World Hydrological Observing System (WHYCOS) programme, had improved the capabilities of the NHSs in delivering the products required for Integrated Water Resources Management at the national level. The Commission called for further efforts to implement WHYCOS and appealed to donors to support the programme. 

In order to strengthen the software part of capacity building, the Commission adopted a strategic approach to education and training for the personnel of NHSs. 

The Commission put special emphasis on the standardization and quality-control aspects of water-resources monitoring, forecasting and prediction and decided to develop and update standard procedures and methods in close collaboration with the International Organization for Standardization and other relevant institutions.

The Commission took a number of measures to bring into focus the issues of climate variability and change for reducing risks in water-resources management. One measure was to stipulate the criteria for identifying pristine river basins in order to detect trends. In view of the importance of data exchange for water-resources management and flood forecasting in transboundary rivers and in order to study the effect of increased anthropogenic changes on the flows in rivers and into oceans, the Commission decided to develop data-exchange formats and protocols, including metadata. It stressed the need to work in close colaboration with other UN agencies such as UNESCO, which are also involved in various facets of hydrology and water-resources management.

The Commission elected Mr Bruce Stewart of the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia, and Mr  Julius Wellens Mensah of the National Hydrological Service, Ghana, as its president and vice-president, respectively for the period 2004-2008. They will be supported by a team of seven hydrology and water-resources specialists, working as members of the Advisory Working Group, and a pool of 110 experts from different parts of the world.

Regional Association II (Asia)13th session

The 13th session of Regional Association II (Asia) was held in Hong Kong, China, from 7 to 15 December 2004. A total of 102 representatives from 33 out of 35 Members of the Association, 14 observers from five Members of other Regions and two observers from two international organizations attended the session.

The session approved a total of 24 resolutions and established six working groups in the most critical areas for the Region: Planning and Implementation of the WWW; Climate-related Matters; Agricultural Meteorology; Hydrology; Natural Disaster Prevention and Mitigation; and an Advisory Working Group to address issues related to the work of the Association and its subsidiary bodies.

The Association agreed that special attention should be given to the implementation of the regional components of WMO Programmes and activities. Every effort should be made to improve current network performance.

The Association agreed to initiate a process on the establishment of Regional Climate Centre (RCC) network of multiple multifunctional centres and/or specialized centres on a pilot basis. 

The Association agreed to establish a pilot project on the provisional of city-specific numerical weather prediction products to developing countries via the Internet, as well as a pilot project in aeronautical meteorology to assist RA II Members, in particular the Least Developed Countries, to build capacity in providing aviation weather services.

The Association adopted the Strategic Plan for the Enhancement of National Meteorological Services in RA II (Asia) for the period 2005- 2008 and agreed to finalize a similar plan for National Hydrological Services for the same period. 

Mr A. Majeed H. Isa (Bahrain) and Mr C.Y. Lam (Hong Kong, China) were elected president and vice-president of the Association.

Small Island Developing States

The International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Development States (SIDS) was held in Mauritius from 10 to 14 January 2005. The major outcomes were the Mauritius Strategy  and the Mauritius Declaration.

WMO supports SIDS in developmental and environmental areas, especially with regard to natural disaster mitigation, climate variability, climate change and its potential impacts, coastal zone management, pollution monitoring over land, rivers and oceans, assessment and management of water resources and capacity building. 

Some SIDS are only 1-4 metres above mean sea-level, making them especially vulnerable to sea-level rise, as well as flooding and storm surge associated with tropical cyclones, and tsunamis. Of particular interest to SIDS therefore, in the wake of the disaster of 26 December 2004, are the ongoing international consultations on the creation of a global tsunami early warning system.

A brochure covering the specific problems of SIDS is available from the WMO Secretariat, as well as a poster, fact sheets, the WMO position paper and a video.

For more information, including the online version of the brochure (pdf), position paper, etc., see:

See also: and

World Conference on Disaster Reduction

Some 90 per cent of all natural disasters are related to weather, climate and water hazards. At the World Conference on Disaster Reduction ((WCDR), Kobe, Japan, January 2005), WMO demonstrated the benefits of its activities in all aspects of the disaster-risk-reduction decision process, with particular emphasis on risk assessment and early warning systems to prevent the hazards from becoming disasters. It was stressed that disaster-risk prevention must be viewed as part of a multiple-hazards approach for warning purposes and that early warnings must be a cooperative effort of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services with other agencies.

An information package on WMOs activities in disaster reduction is available from the WMO Secretariat and a Website has been launched ( The Website will be an information source for the risk-management community in both public and private sectors at national, regional and international levels and the general public, on WMO activities and capabilities related to disaster risk reduction.

A detailed account of WMO activities at the WCDR can be accessed at the WMO-DPM website.

An information package on WMOs activities in disaster reduction is available from the WMO Secretariat.





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