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Regional Association IV14th session

The 14th session of WMO Regional Association IV ((RA IV) North America, Central America and the Caribbean) was held from 5 to 13 April in San Jos, Costa Rica, to discuss ways of enhancing socio-economic development and national safety through international cooperation for the improved prediction, service provision and research on weather, climate and water-related events.  In his opening address, Mr Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of WMO, noted that the Region had endured one of the most severe tropical cyclone seasons and if not for WMOs global system for observations and warnings, the loss of life and property would have been higher.   

Outgoing president of the Association, Mr Arthur Dania (Netherlands Antilles), began the week-long session by stressing the need for strong cooperation among the Members of Regional Association IV to enhance the socio-economic benefits realized from timely and accurate forecasts of meteorological, hydrological and climatic events.  Priorities discussed included: natural disaster prevention and mitigation, tsunami early warning systems, the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS), implementation of a Regional Climate Centre and the use of forecasts for the enhanced economic and social well-being of various sectors of society. Carlos Fuller (Belize) was elected president of the Association and Paulo Manso (Costa Rica) was elected vice-president.

The newly elected president said it was important to note that 90 per cent of natural disasters were of hydrometeorological origin and NMHSs played a key role in reducing nations vulnerability to hurricanes, floods and other hazards, not only through forecasts but also through the dissemination of warnings, community education and collaboration with emergency managers. In addition, the Association endorsed the initiatives being undertaken by WMO and the International Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO to create an internationally coordinated approach to tsunami early warnings as part of a multi-hazard strategy.   

The Association agreed on a mechanism for ensuring the regions flexibility and adaptability to meet future challenges while addressing present ones through the establishment of its Management Committee chaired by the president of RA IV. 

The NMHSs of the Region endorsed a resolution on the importance of developing a comprehensive, coordinated and sustained global system of systems for observations of the planeta Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) so that the world may better predict weather and climate, prepare for natural hazards, and protect people and property.  GEOSS will, over time, provide an important scientific basis for making sound policy decisions in many sectors of societyenergy, public health, agriculture and others that shape the quality of everyday life and the capability to address natural disasters, including tsunamis. 

A pilot project, focused on Central America, implemented by the Central American Regional Committee for Hydrologic Resources (CRRH), working in close collaboration with the National Meteorological Institute of Costa Rica and the National Institute for Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology of Guatemala, was inaugurated on 6 April. The project, called the RA IV Regional Climate Centre, will focus on data, services, research and development and capacity building.  It will enhance climate products developed by RA IV Members, including seasonal and interannual forecasts, forecast verifications and climate analyses.  Participating countries will ultimately benefit from more targeted climate forecasts, particularly for El Nio and La Nia events. 





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