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Summary of outcomes
Fifteenth World Meteorological Congress took place at the Geneva International Conference Centre from 7 to 25 May 2007. 163 WMO Member States and Member Territories attended the Congress as well as observers from 4 non-WMO Members and 30 international organizations.
UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-Moon, 18 Ministers and high-level governmental officials addressed Congress (messages and statements).
Amendments to the WMO Convention and the General Regulations
The preamble of the WMO Convention was amended, with effect from 1 June 2007, to reflect and make clear how the scope and responsibilities of the Organization have evolved since it was established in 1950.
The colour of the wind rose in the WMO emblem was changed to gold and the acronym of the Organization added below in the official language concerned (English, French, Russian and Spanish) or the full name of the Organization in the two other official languages (Arabic and Chinese) in which no abbreviations are used. Further protection against possible misuse or abuse of the Organization’s name, emblem and image needs to be ensured.
The period required for conducting an election by correspondence for vacant positions such Vice-Presidents of the Organization and presidents or vice-presidents of a regional association or technical commission, as well as vacant seats on the Executive Council (EC), was reduced from 225 to 130 days;
Revised terms of reference of the Commission for Atmospheric Science and the Commission for Climatology were adopted.
The Financial Regulations were amended.
Transparency and greater involvement of Members in governance
Documents of the Executive Council sessions were made available for the public.
WMO Strategic Plan for 2008-2011 and Beyond approved, including top-level objectives, strategic thrusts and the 11 Organization-wide expected results for the 15th financial period
The first WMO results-based budget approved for the forthcoming period 2008-2011 of CHF393800000, including regular resources of CHF269800000 and CHF124000000 from extra-budgetary resources. This ensures the alignment of resources used by the Organization to its strategic direction and the measurement of results achieved through pre-defined performance indicators. Congress entrusted the 60th session of the Executive Council to decide on the use of the surplus of up to CHF12000000.
Further active involvement of WMO in major UN events and international summits and conferences, regular sessions of the UN General Assembly, the UN Commissions and Conventions was called for. Members and the Secretary-General were requested to contribute, as far as possible, to the implementation of programmes for action and to the relevant resolutions or decisions adopted by such summits and conferences of relevance to the work of the Organization in order to enhance the contribution of WMO as well as of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to sustainable development and to the implementation of internationally agreed development goals.
The Organization should continue to be deeply involved in the work of the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) and its subsidiary machinery, as well as in the activities associated with UN inter-agency coordination.
Permanent Representatives of Members with WMO were requested to cooperate with UN Resident Coordinators to ensure WMO involvement in One-UN country programmes.
UN reforms which would support WMO’s own efforts in delivering its mandate were welcomed. The Executive Council was requested to provide further guidance to the Secretary-General with respect to UN reform.
The Executive Council was requested to finalize the working arrangements with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), in which WMO would be recognized as an international standardizing body.
It was requested that a global network of advisers or focal points on international cooperation and external relations be developed and maintained and symposiums on strengthening cooperation among NMHSs and WMO organized.
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)
Congress encouraged the preparation of guidelines for NMHSs to assist them in shaping their contribution towards the achievement of the MDGs and in mainstreaming their activities and services into the economic and political decision-making process.
EC was requested to consider ways of improving the advice available to UN country teams on weather, climate and water in each developing country.
WMO was encouraged to have an active role in inter-agency coordination mechanisms for the implementation of WSSD.
Congress requested SG to assist NMHSs of developing countries to contribute to the National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS).
Congress renewed WMO’s commitment to the Mauritius Strategy on the Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and urged that the Action Plan for SIDS be finalized and implemented.
World Weather Watch (WWW) programme
Global Observing System (GOS)
The GOS continues to provide unique and sustainable observational data and information critical for NMHS weather, water and climate products and services.
Congress acknowledged that further improvements had been achieved in the availability of data produced by other components of the GOS, notably satellite, marine and aircraft meteorological data.
It supported CBS proposals for a future composite GOS to alleviate deficiencies in surface and upper-air data coverage.
GOS should continue to provide timely, reliable and consistent meteorological data to meet national, regional and global requirements.
Instruments and methods of observation
Instrument intercomparisons implemented by the Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation (CIMO) have a significant impact on data compatibility and accuracy. Even a partial funding of intercomparison activities was an important contribution to achieving CIMO objectives in this area and that EC should keep this matter under review.
Priority should be given to field intercomparisons of rainfall intensity gauges and combined intercomparison of thermometer screens/shield in conjunction with humidity-measuring instruments.
It was recommended that intercomparison efforts be extended to “test-bed” observing system evaluations with mixes of ground-based in situ and remote-sensing systems.
Information system and services
Congress acknowledged efforts by NMHSs to upgrade the Global Telecommunication System for the effective exchange of warnings and related information, especially support to tsunami warning systems.
It re-affirmed the overarching WMO Information System (WIS) for the collection and sharing of information for all WMO and related international programmes, and agreed on fundamental types of WIS services and implementation in two parallel parts:
• Part A: continued improvements of the GTS for time-critical and operation-critical data, to meet operational requirements of all WMO programmes;
• Part B: extension of the information services through flexible data discovery, access and retrieval services to authorized users, as well as flexible and timely delivery services.
Congress emphasized that the need to overcome the persisting shortcomings in the GTS, and the need for a coordinated action plan were priorities for building capacity in developing countries to enable them to participate in WIS.
An implementation time frame and objectives with the first operational Global Information System Centres (GISCs) in 2008, and other operational GISCs and Data Collection or Production Centres (DCPCs) in 2009–2011 were agreed.
The WIS would play a core role in the Global Earth Observing System of Systems as an essential WMO contribution with respect to weather, water and climate data and products.
Congress underscored the importance of the WMO metadata profile being compatible with the ISO metadata standard for ensuring the interoperability of WMO information.
Congress confirmed the importance of WMO table-driven code forms (TDCF) for operational exchange between NMHSs and strongly supported the assessment of different data representation systems (e.g. XML) for transmission of information to users, including the aeronautical community.
The prime importance of radio frequencies for meteorological and related environmental operations and research was reaffirmed. A resolution towards ensuring allocations and protection was adopted.
Congress noted the progress of the Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP), implemented in south-eastern Africa in 2006. If successful, the concept should be expanded and implemented throughout Region I (Africa) and to other Regions, especially in developing countries.
It was greed that an overarching vision for a numerical weather prediction development strategy should be: “NMHSs in developing countries are able to implement and maintain reliable and effective routine forecasting and severe weather warning programmes through enhanced use of NWP products and delivery of timely and authoritative forecasts and early warnings, thereby contributing to reducing the risk of disasters from natural hazards”.
Nine official Global Producing Centres for Long-Range Forecasts had been recognized by CBS (Melbourne, Montreal, Beijing, Toulouse, Tokyo, Seoul, Exeter, Washington and ECMWF).
Congress supported extending the environmental emergency response programme to include response to non-nuclear incidents or hazards, such as chemical incidents, smoke from large fires, gas and ash emissions from volcanic eruptions and other airborne hazards.
The continuing need was emphasized for training and capacity-building measures on the use of ensemble prediction system products and probabilistic forecasting at many NMHSs, especially in developing countries.
The Secretariat was requested to complete the development of working arrangements with ISO as a matter of urgency. This arrangement aims at developing joint ISO/WMO technical standards based on WMO Technical Regulations, manuals and guides, that would clarify the authority of WMO documents and enhance their international recognition and dissemination.
It was agreed that WMO’s quality management framework should not only address the implementation of quality management systems by its Members but also provide an overall strategy for WMO, which would cover all relevant WMO technical programme activities related to the delivery of products, data and services; a dedicated volume of the Technical Regulations (Volume IV—Quality management”) needs to be developed.
Agricultural Meteorology Programme (AGMP)
It was decided that AGMP should:
Congress approved the theme for the technical conference that would precede CCl-XV as “Changing climate and demands for sustainable development”.
Congress approved holding a third World Climate Conference through extra-budgetary resources.
Congress welcomed and encouraged the various positive partnership developments that WMO is implementing on climate matters in collaboration with other UN agencies such as UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and other programmes, such as GCOS, WCRP and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Congress noted the progress made in establishing Regional Climate Centres and requested the process to be accelerated.
Congress noted the progress made in preparing the third edition of the Guide to Climatological Practices.
World Climate Applications and Services Programme (WCASP) (including CLIPS)
The implementation, operation and maintenance of WCASP/CLIPS initiatives are essential to meeting the objectives of the WMO Strategic Plan and to strengthening climate services within NMHSs.
The Espoo Statement was endorsed, noting the need to develop climate services within real-world decision contexts, and that multidisciplinary collaboration and cross-disciplinary exchange of information are essential to climate-related risk management.
Working with CCl, the goals and objectives of CLIPS should be re-visited and an Implementation Plan for future evolution of CLIPS activities should be prepared and reported on to CCl-XV in 2009, and Cg-XVI in 2011.
The WCP/CCl/DPM project on Heat Health Warning Systems (HHWS) should be promoted and relevant training and implementation of HHWS in regions vulnerable to deadly heat waves facilitated.
A scoping workshop on climate and tourism was a priority.
New CLIPS priorities and cross-cutting activities will likely require extra budgetary resources to supplement the Programme and Budget for 2008–2011.
In collaboration with the Education and Training Programme, the CLIPS curriculum should be further developed as complete, self-contained modules that can be integrated into regular training activities.
The availability of funding for initiation or continuation of Regional Climate Outlook Forums was a major issue for many Members. Members were urged to work towards increasing support for regional climate outlooks and to adopt cost-effective methods.
There was a need to renew the CLIPS Focal Point Networks. The appointment of rapporteurs at regional level and coordination of CLIPS and DPM Focal Point networks were endorsed.
Enhanced collaboration of WCP and CCl with WCRP on climate prediction should be promoted.
El Niño and La Niña Updates should be continued and other large-scale indices having regional impacts (e.g. the Indian Ocean Dipole) considered for future updates.
WMO should compile information on ENSO-related definitions, events and impacts.
The WCP/CCl/DPM project on integrating hydrometeorological risk assessment in urban planning and building design should be promoted.
User-oriented training and awareness-raising should be fostered, highlighting the socio-economic benefits of climate services;
World Climate Data and Monitoring Programme (WCDMP)
Priority should be given to:
Specific actions requested by Congress:
The new Open Programme Area operating system for the Commission for Atmospheric Sciences (CAS) was approved. It has two OPAGs: one on environmental pollution and atmospheric chemistry supporting the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) programme and one for the World Weather Research Programme (WWRP), which includes THORPEX.
The third GAW Strategic Plan: 2008-2015 was acknowledged by Congress. Through this plan, GAW focuses on integration of all types of observations (surface-based, aircraft, satellite) of ozone, UV radiation, greenhouse gases, aerosols and selected reactive gases using atmospheric models and incorporates many elements of the Integrated Global Atmospheric Chemistry Observations (IGACO) strategy.
Congress expressed its support for the GAW programme and the pivotal role played by CAS in developing the WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS).
Congress strongly endorsed the technical strategic plan for the new WWRP that integrates WMO Member activities in THORPEX, tropical meteorology, mesoscale weather forecasting, nowcasting, verification and societal and economic research applications.
CAS had reviewed proposed updates to the WMO Statement on Weather Modification (including an executive summary) and the WMO Guidelines for the Planning of Weather Modification Activities.
A peer-reviewed report entitled Aerosol Pollution Impact on Precipitation: A Scientific Review produced by a WMO/IUGG assessment team with an independent peer-review was accepted. The report will be published jointly by WMO and the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics.
The development of the GAW Urban Research Meteorology and Environment (GURME) air- quality forecast training course would strengthen the capability of NMHSs to deal with urban air-quality problems.
The THORPEX Interactive Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE) system will guide the development of a possible operational Global Interactive Forecasting System (GIFS). Congress urged the WWRP also to continue the development of probabilistic forecasting techniques for tropical cyclones in collaboration with THORPEX, the World Climate Research Programme and the Applications of Meteorology Programme.
Congress welcomed the establishment and significant progress in the Beijing 2008 Forecast Demonstration project, MAP D-PHASE, the Sand and Dust Storm Regional Demonstration Project and the RDP on Convective and Orographically induced Precipitation Study.
The joint WWRP/GAW activity toward a WMO Sand and Dust Storm Warning System was approved. It is aimed at coordinating observations and research forecast modelling of sand and dust storms while forging strong links with users, including operational forecasters.
Congress endorsed the establishment of a WMO trust fund in support of the quadrennial WMO Scientific Conference on Weather Modification and the WMO Expert Team on Weather Modification and encouraged Members and other parties involved in weather modification to contribute.
Tropical Cyclone Programme (TCP)
Congress stressed that the TCP should continue to give priority to capacity-building, which is essential for a sustained augmentation of the tropical cyclone warning services provided by NMHSs, particularly in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the tropical cyclone basins and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) that are equally vulnerable to tropical cyclones.
It emphasized the need to promote training through the attachment of operational forecasters at TC RSMCs and TCWCs during the cyclone season and storm-surge experts at institutes in India.
Training workshops being conducted in cooperation with the Public Weather Services Programme should continue to be organized on modern techniques of tropical cyclone forecasting and warning and skills for interaction with the media, with special focus on operational forecaster responsibilities during tropical cyclone events.
Collaboration between the TCP and the Marine Meteorology and Oceanography Programme, through the WMO-IOC Joint WMO-IOC Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) in the series of Regional Workshops on Storm Surge and Wave Forecasting was strongly supported as an important initiative to enhance capabilities of Members in the field of natural disaster prevention and mitigation.
Congress agreed on the continuation of the series of technical coordination meetings among the six TC RSMCs and TCWCs concerned with regard to their role, function and responsibility and to technical matters of common interest.
There was an urgent need to encourage proactive participation of hydrologists and disaster risk reduction experts in the regular sessions of the five tropical cyclone regional bodies to identify gaps and requirements that could be addressed through collaboration and partnerships to support enhanced coastal and marine risk management decision processes.
Congress requested the Secretary-General to pursue, as appropriate, the recommendations from the Sixth International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones (IWTC-VI) and agreed to support the IWTC-VII.
Congress endorsed continuation of the following TCP sub-projects for the period (2008-2011):
Public Weather Services (PWS) Programme
Congress adopted the PWS strategy as approved by the Commission for Basic Systems (CBS) and the Executive Council. It laid emphasis on the improvement of early warning services and public education and outreach.
Congress expressed satisfaction with the training events conducted during the intersessional period, and asked the Secretary-General to increase efforts in this regard.
Congress strongly supported the work of the Task Force on Social and Economic Applications of Meteorological and Hydrological Services to assist Members in the evaluation and demonstration of the social, environmental and economic benefits of their public weather services to user sectors. It requested the Task Force to work on addressing the provider-user issues.
Congress requested the Secretary-General to take concrete steps to advance dialogue between NMHSs and the private sector and suggested that successful partnerships and best practices be documented.
Congress commended Hong Kong, China, for hosting two Websites namely, the Severe Weather Information Centre and the World Weather Information Service (WWIS) which facilitate international exchange of NMHS official forecasts and warnings. Through the WWIS, which operates in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, a total of 115 WMO Members supply official forecasts.
In support of natural disaster reduction, Congress endorsed work in the application of nowcasting and probability forecasting and requested the Secretary-General to support building capability of NMHSs in this area. It also endorsed participation of the PWS Programme in Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Projects.
Congress requested the Secretary-General to organize an international symposium on Public Weather Services to review past PWSP achievements and to prepare a roadmap for a strategic approach over the next decade.
Some Members expressed the opinion that the title of the PWS Programme needed to better reflect its broad scope and content requested that this matter be kept under review by CBS and EC. As a first step it tasked the proposed International Symposium on PWS with addressing issues concerning the title and structure of PWSP and preparing a report for consideration by the Executive Council.
Aeronautical Meteorology Programme
Congress recommended that the WMO Aeronautical Meteorology Programme should be suitably resourced, enabling it to address new and urgent questions put before it.
Congress further recommended that adequate additional funding be provided for high-priority activities in support of training, cost recovery, capacity-building and support for Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.
Congress encouraged the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM) to put strong emphasis on close cooperation with relevant International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Planning and Implementation Regional Groups and representatives of air navigation service providers, airlines, pilots and airports in developing new and targeted forecast products for the wider Terminal Area of Aerodromes, entrusted to a new expert team. To this end, it further supported the establishment of regional working groups in aeronautical meteorology.
Congress supported the idea of carrying out a pilot project to establish an ISO-certified Quality Management System in at least one Member country and encouraged the translation of existing and new training material into other WMO languages.
Congress supported establishing a conjoint Expert Team between CBS and CAeM with the involvement of ICAO working groups that will address the issues of the migration of OPMET data to new forms of data representation.
Marine Meteorology and Oceanography Programme
Congress drew the attention of Members to the risk of disruption in essential observational datasets and urged Members to develop efforts aimed at ensuring continuity of measurements and timely transfer of research-based systems into operational status.
Congress endorsed the major events being planned under the Joint WMO-IOC Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) over the coming two years, especially the First Scientific and Technical Symposium on Storm Surge (Seoul, Republic of Korea, October 2007), the Third International Workshop on Advances in Marine Climatology (Poland, May 2008), and the International Maritime Met-ocean Services Conference (Exeter, United Kingdom, October 2008).
Congress welcomed Morocco’s offer to host the third session of the JCOMM.
Congress urged the WMO Secretary-General, IOC Executive Secretary and the co-presidents of JCOMM to further strengthen the integration of WMO and IOC activities, in order to provide a more effective and cost-efficient JCOMM work plan.
Congress requested the WMO Secretary-General and the co-presidents of JCOMM to work with IOC to develop mechanisms for enhanced coordination of JCOMM with the Intergovernmental Coordination Groups of the different tsunami warning and mitigation systems in order to sustain the systems initiated through the IOC as an integral component of a comprehensive multi-purpose global ocean observing system.
Congress requested the Secretary-General to make available on-line publications WMO-No. 558 (Manual on Marine Meteorological Services) and WMO-No. 471 (Guide to Marine Meteorological Services) that describe guidelines, rules and procedures to prepare and broadcast MSI to ships at sea.
Congress stressed the importance of the collaboration between WMO and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Hydrographic Organization in the context of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System.
Congress emphasized the continuing importance to mariners of radio-facsimile broadcasts of meteorological and related information and requested JCOMM to continue its work in developing alternative methods for transmitting graphical information to marine users.
Congress commended JCOMM on its pro-active role in assuming responsibility for the ocean components of the Global Climate Observing System.
Congress noted with appreciation the liaison between JCOMM and the Commission for Climatology (CCl) in expanding to the maritime domain the diagnostic of variability and climate change and the development of new climate indices for the maritime environment.
Considering that the Marine Meteorology and Oceanography Programme (MMOP) has an important role to play in assessing coastal vulnerability to marine-related hazards, Congress decided that:
Congress urged Members concerned to collaborate actively in the implementation of the MMOP and the work of JCOMM by supporting the implementation of regional demonstration projects promoted by WMO and IOC, in areas such as preparedness for marine coastal hazards as part of integrated coastal area management, in particular in the case of extreme events (e.g. storm surges, and high and/or long waves) and analysis of the impacts of oceanic response to climate variability and change.
Congress requested that activities under the MMOP be coordinated with relevant programme activities of the IOC and other international organizations, in particular the sustained observing platform and data delivery operations of the international tsunami warning systems, through JCOMM, as integral components of a comprehensive global ocean observing system.
Congress requested the Secretary-General to work with Members and space agencies to ensure better continuity and overlap of relevant space-based and in situ ocean observing systems and to move experimental observing systems into operational status.
The water sector constitutes one of the major clients of WMO to fulfil its vision to contribute towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Congress urged Members to ensure through membership in the Commission for Hydrology (CHy), wider representation from all the water management sectors. It also advised permanent representatives to appoint hydrological advisors, who could coordinate with the various institutions involved in water sector in their countries.
Given the complexity of the water sector, the working groups for hydrology, established by all the regional associations, form a strong mechanism to project the specific needs of the Regions. This mechanism needs to be strengthened and reasonable resources for the activities of these groups allocated.
Through the implementation of Niger-HYCOS, Volta-HYCOS, SADC-HYCOS, Mekong-HYCOS and Pacific-HYCOS 42 Members (among them 20 LDCs) will have their capacities in hydrological observations and information generation enhanced. Congress requested Members and regional institutions to collaborate with the Secretariat to secure funds required for the implementation of other HYCOS projects.
It adopted a Strategy and Action Plan for the Enhancement of Cooperation between National Meteorological and Hydrological Services for Improved Flood Forecasting. It welcomed the joint proposal by CHy and the Commission for Basic Systems for the implementation of a Flash Flood Guidance System.
Through the Flood Forecasting Initiative, the Associated Programme on Flood Management and other regular activities, WMO is providing excellent input to the International Flood Initiative developed jointly with UNESCO, the United Nations University, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, the International Association of Hydraulic Engineering and Research and other interested organizations.
It urged the Secretariat, CHy and CCl to ensure cooperation with relevant programmes and organizations addressing in particular impacts of climate variability and change on water resources and hydrological extremes, including droughts.
Congress encouraged the Secretary-General to further develop the close cooperation established with other international governmental and non-governmental agencies through UN-Water. It urged improved coordination between WMO’s HWRP and UNESCO’s International Hydrology Programme.
Congress agreed that the Education and Training Programme should place particular attention on the following cross-cutting activities during the 15th financial period:
Congress noted the concerns of Members surrounding the delayed implementation of the new two-tier classification of meteorological personnel as described in the 4th edition of WMO-No. 258. It requested the Executive Council Panel of Experts on Education and Training to define an implementation plan to ensure that all Members are able to implement the changes on a clearly defined time-scale. This should be done in liaison with the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology to ensure that international aeronautical requirements are met.
There was strong support for the reorganization of the Development Cooperation and Regional Activities (DCR) Department for enhanced resource mobilization and project implementation with more active involvement of Regional Offices and WMO Offices in the Region.
The Voluntary Coooperation Programme (VCP) would be continued during the 15th financial period.
An international conference on technical cooperation should be organized in 2010, conjointly with a related WMO activity.
A group of experts on development cooperation was re-established, with an expanded scope and appropriate terms of reference and composition, including external expertise to address the future challenges in development cooperation activities.
Congress requested the establishment of a mechanism to ensure that the support cost revenues generated through the project implementation be used for project development and resource mobilization activities.
Congress supported the new strategy and vision for development cooperation and regional activities to provide better services to Members and enhance a more systematic approach to collecting information on NMHSs.
Congress requested that the Regional Offices and WMO Offices in the Regions be strengthened with adequate human and financial resources (within the available budget) and encouraged the facilitation of substantive discussions with NMHSs in order to explore cost-effective approaches to procurement and maintenance of observing systems.
It recommended that significant developments in the provision of meteorological services to air navigation in various regions be addressed so as to provide support to Members through interregional coordination and proper coordination between the Regional Programme and the Aeronautical Meteorology Programme.
The Secretary-General was urged to implement the WMO country profile database that will integrate all of the information collected.
Reports of presidents of regional associations
RA I (Africa)
Congress underlined the urgent necessity of setting up a Regional Strategic Plan in alignment with the WMO Strategic Plan. It took note and encouraged the organization of the Conference of African Ministers in charge of meteorology in Africa. Highest priority should be given to the development and maintenance of the basic systems of meteorological observations, telecommunication and data processing facilities in the Region.
RA II (Asia)
Congress requested the Secretary-General to continue to support the implementation of the RA II pilot projects Provision of City-Specific Numerical Weather Prediction Products to Developing Countries via the Internet and Support for Developing Countries in the Aeronautical Meteorology Programme and to explore the possibility of launching similar projects in other Regions.
Congress requested the Secretary-General to take necessary actions towards the establishment of a network of Regional Climate Centres in RA II in coordination with relevant technical commissions.
Congress welcomed the inauguration of the WMO Office for West Asia in Bahrain on 12March 2007, and requested the Secretary-General to provide the necessary funding and human resources support for enhancements.
RA III (South America)
Congress gave its full support to the priorities of the WMO scientific and technical programmes which focus on specific needs and requirements of the Region and new priority areas such as natural disasters prevention and mitigation, climate change, operational hydrology and related environmental issues and training. It requested the Secretary-General to take into consideration the regional needs related to the future strategic development plan of the RA III.
The main challenges of RA III, emphasized by the president, include the following:
RA IV (North America, Central America and the Caribbean)
The main challenges of RA IV as emphasized by the president, included:
RA V (South-West Pacific)
Noting the progress in the development of the RA V Strategic Plan, Congress requested the Secretary-General to consider to support and secure adequate resources to address regional needs related to its implementation.
Fiji Meteorological Service and the RSMC Nadi are experiencing an acute shortage of professional forecasting staff which may soon impact on the provision of vital services. Congress requested the Secretary-General to urgently consider possible support for this issue in cooperation with Members of RA V to avoid interruption of tropical cyclone warning services as well as general services, especially aviation weather services currently provided by RSMC Nadi, which is also a designated ICAO Tropical Cyclone Advisory Centre.
RA VI (Europe)
Congress supported the reinforcement of the Regional Office for Europe in view of its importance for RA VI Members, as it will have to play a key role in the monitoring and implementation of the Regional Strategic Plan in addition to its already indispensable support for the services its Members. With only one professional staff member, the Regional Office for Europe was understaffed and not in balance with other Regional Offices.
Disaster Risk Reduction Programme (Natural Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Programme renamed by EC-LIX.)
Disaster risk reduction was endorsed as the highest priority of WMO.
Congress requested EC to adopt and/or implement as appropriate the recommendations of the EC Advisory Group on Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
A WMO vision and strategic goals in disaster risk reduction, derived from the Hyogo Framework for Action were adopted and should be reflected in the WMO Strategic Plan.
Congress approved WMO action plan in disaster disk reduction, which will be built upon some or all of the following major thrusts: modernization of NMHSs and observing networks; implementation of national operational multi-hazard early warning systems; strengthening of hazard analysis and hydrometeorological risk assessment tools; strengthening NMHSs’ cooperation with civil protection and disaster risk management agencies; and coordinated training and public outreach programmes.
The action plan will be implemented through concrete regional and national projects involving relevant programmes, technical commissions, regional associations and external partner organizations.
Congress requested that the Executive Council, with the assistance of technical commissions and regional associations, to prioritize and provide further guidance for the implementation of the Programme in line with the WMO Strategic Plan 2008-2011, during the intersessional period; and and to re-establish, with updated terms of reference, its EC Advisory Group on Disaster Risk Reduction.
Congress requested presidents of technical commissions to coordinate intercommission projects and activities to meet WMO strategic goals in disaster risk reduction. It requested presidents of regional associations to ensure that regional associations’ strategic plans are aligned with the regional components of the Hyogo Framework for Action and with WMO’s strategic goals in disaster risk reduction.
Congress requested the Secretary-General, in reference to the DPM Programme vision statement, strategic goals and in response to Members’ requirements and priorities:
WMO SPACE Programme
Congress expressed its appreciation to those who contribute to the space-based component of the Global Observing System (GOS) and noted the robustness of that component achieved through sustained routine operations and through recent and planned launches of new satellites.
It stressed the importance of maintaining full geostationary coverage around the globe and highlighted the need for ensuring continuity of coverage of the Indian Ocean region.
The Space Programme had been effective in facilitating coordination among operational and R&D agencies towards enhancing the space-based component of the GOS.
Congress strongly supported the update of the baseline of the space-based component of the GOS to include sustained observations for climate monitoring and other applications.
It strongly supported the Global Satellite Inter-Calibration System (GSICS) project, which will ensure the stability and accuracy of satellite measurements from different instruments and programmes, relating these measurements to absolute references and enabling recalibration of archived data.
It also supported the concept of the International Geostationary Laboratory (IGeoLab) as a framework to develop partnerships for demonstration missions of new instruments in geostationary orbit and welcomed the recent initiative to address, in the IGeoLab framework, cooperation on a possible mission in Highly Elliptical Orbit (Molniya orbit) based on the Russian Federation Arctica project.
Congress supported the Integrated Global Data Dissemination Service (IGDDS) project, and noted progress with the implementation of satellite-based Digital Video Broadcast services (DVB-S). There was also strong support for the global Regional ATOVS Retransmission Service (RARS) network.
Although satellite receiving equipment had been installed in more than 50 African countries through the Preparation for the Use of METEOSAT Second Generation in Africa (PUMA) project, Congress expressed its concerns as regards the continued serviceability of the supplied equipment. The African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD) initiative provided an opportunity for the establishment of a maintenance strategy for these reception systems that would address their longer-term viability.
The innovative 2006 High Profile Training Event (HPTE) had had a huge positive impact and training in satellite meteorology remains a key component of the Space Programme’s activities. Further initiatives along the lines of the HPTE should be undertaken.
The Space Programme should consider activities in the area of space weather and pay particular attention to the protection of the electromagnetic frequency spectrum.
Congress reaffirmed the value of the regular Consultative Meetings on High-level Policy on Satellite Matters (CM) and expected that CM-8 would meet early in 2008 to address the outcome of this Congress.
WMO Programme for the least developed countries (LDCs)
Congress stressed the importance of the programme and the need to allocate adequate resources for its effective implementation that would enhance WMO’s image and role in addressing development goals. It also stressed the cross-cutting nature of the programme and the need for an integrated but country-specific strategic approach to its implementation.
Congress called upon Members and funding agencies to contribute to the WMO Trust Fund for LDCs.
It provided guidance for the successful implementation of the Programme through innovative capacity-building and promotion of value-added and sustained service delivery to enhance NMHS profile and visibility in the development arena:
International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008
Congress requested technical commissions to concentrate their efforts during IPY implementation on further development and extension of observing networks in polar regions, provision of standardization of the observations and the instrument traceability and facilitation of easy access to data obtained, using interfaces developed within the WMO Information System (WIS) implementation project.
Concerning the legacy of observing systems established during the IPY, Congress stressed the need to establish a mechanism for early assessment of benefits acquired from new observations in order to prepare for supporting the long-term reinforcement of networks in polar regions. This mechanism should consist of representatives of the main partners involved in IPY, as well as representatives of the Group on Earth Observation, GCOS, the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), WCRP, the Arctic Council and Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting. Congress supported the organization of an IPY legacy workshop in 2008, when detailed information on the implementation of the IPY projects in the field during the first IPY year would be available.
WMO will create a Global Cryosphere Watch, which will be an important component of the IPY legacy. Congress requested the WMO Inter-commission Task Group on IPY to establish an ad hoc expert group to explore the possibility of creation of such a global system and prepare recommendations for its development.
Congress requested Members:
Congress requested the Secretary-General to secure necessary funding to continue support to the IPY implementation process and the activities of the Joint Committee on the cost-sharing basis agreed between ICSU and WMO.
Congress approved the WMO Policy on Gender Mainstreaming, which seeks to promote, encourage and facilitate gender equality across WMO, including Member States and the Secretariat. The policy also provides guidance and direction for WMO and its Members to implement gender mainstreaming through: governance as it appertains to visible support, accountability and transparency from top-level management; gender-sensitive employment actions including recruitment, selection and promotion; enhancement of service delivery, through due consideration of the specific needs of women and men; and effective monitoring and evaluation by collection and analysis of data on gender issues.
Congress adopted a resolution urging Members to adopt and actively implement the WMO Policy on Gender Mainstreaming. It also requested Members to consider secondment of experts to the WMO Secretariat to assist with the implementation of this policy.
Congress requested the Secretary-General to establish a gender expert function to assist with the implementation of the gender policy.
Global Climate Observing System (GCOS)
Congress reaffirmed WMO’s continuing commitment to the objectives of GCOS and decided to maintain GCOS as a priority programme of the Organization, in partnership with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Council for Science.
Congress strongly supported the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev Africa) initiative and agreed that African NMHSs should take a lead role at the national level in implementation of its observation and service components.
Congress welcomed the development of detailed requirements for satellite-based observations for climate and commended the ongoing collaboration with space agencies through the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS) and the WMO Space Programme, with the objective of establishing, and ensuring continuity of, the climate data record from space.
Congress noted the request by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Assistance (SBSTA) for a comprehensive report on progress in implementing GCOS for consideration in 2009 and endorsed the plans of the GCOS Steering Committee and Secretariat for preparation of the proposed report.
Congress requested the Secretary-General to encourage and assist permanent representatives of Members to take the lead in the establishment of GCOS National Committees and the designation of GCOS National Coordinators.
The Executive Council noted the work towards establishing a reference network of high-quality observing sites, including surface and upper-air measurements. Germany had offered to serve as a lead centre for a limited network of such stations.
Congress expressed serious concern about the lack of funding available for WCRP to continue its efforts to coordinate and facilitate fundamental climate research, and, particularly in view of WMO’s role as a major sponsor of WCRP, strongly urged Members to find ways to increase support to WCRP.
Congress noted with satisfaction:
Information and Public Affairs Programme
Congress stressed the importance of the Global Communication Strategy aimed at promoting the role and visibility of WMO and NMHSs. It urged the Secretary-General to continue to take advantage of major international events, international fairs and exhibitions to promote the image of WMO and NMHSs and to enhance cooperation with other United Nations agencies, in particular within the framework of the United Nations Communications Group.
It urged the NMHSs of Members to interact with UN Offices and other international, regional and national organizations/authorities in order to increase recognition of NMHSs contribution to sustainable development, and to further develop strategic alliance with the media and synergy within WMO’s Information and Public Affairs Programme.
Congress approved major changes in the financial and administrative area to enhance transparency, strengthen internal control and improve efficiency. This includes, besides the revision of the financial regulations, adoption of the new accounting standards IPSAS, integration and simplification of accounts structure and a new working capital fund arrangement.
The provisional schedule of constituent body meetings in the 15th financial period was adopted.
With the exception of Congress and the Executive Council, it was decided that there should be no more than two constituent body meetings in any period of three consecutive months.
The Secretariat was requested to investigate the possibility of wider use of PC tablets, not only for voting purposes, but also for distribution of conference material, including documents, and the possibility of wider use of video-conferencing.
The list of mandatory publications was reviewed.
Date and place of Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress
It was decided that Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress would be held in Geneva from Monday, 16 May to Friday, 3 June 2011. Congress requested the Executive Council to further improve the electronic voting system and shorten the duration of Congress.
The 59th session of the Executive Council (EC-LIX) was held from 28 to 30 May 2007 at WMO Headquarters under the chairmanship of the President of the Organization, A.I. Bedritskiy.
EC established its new working structure, comprising of panels of experts, working groups and committees.
On the basis of the decision by Congress, the 59th session of the Executive Council approved the biennium budget for the period 2008-2009.
The Council acknowledged the proposals made by the JCOMM Ship Observations Team (SOT) on ship call sign masking and encoding, and stressed the importance of developing a general and universally acceptable solution to this issue that would address ship owners and masters’ concerns, as well as, the operational, data monitoring and quality information feedback, and climate requirements.
The Council decided to keep in force Resolution 7 (EC-LVIII) and adopted Resolution 7.7/1 (EC-LIX) that recommends to continue the trial masking schemes in successive years, unless decided otherwise by the Executive Council, while pending the universal acceptance and implementation of a more suitable solution and the CBS migration to table driven codes.
The Council approved an addition of “Support capacity building for the Quality Management System” to the list of VCP coordinated programmes for 2007-2008 and allocations of VCP(F) for 2007, including the transfer of US$ 50 000 from the VCP(F) to the Least Developed Countries Trust Fund.
EC decided to discuss a new agenda item on the coordination mechanism between regional associations and technical commissions at its next session and to formalize the issue of certificates to national experts in recognition of their contribution to the work of regional associations and technical commissions in the context of the volunteerism in the work of these bodies.
The Council decided to change the name of the WMO Natural Disaster Mitigation and Prevention Programme to WMO “Disaster Risk Reduction Programme” and requested that this decision be henceforth reflected in all future documentation and references to the Programme.
The Executive Council approved a number of recommendations arising from the 14th session of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology, including national reports on progress made in agricultural meteorology, drought and desertification, and training and education in agricultural meteorology:
The Council requested the Secretary-General to continue the support to the work on WCC-3 through establishing a WCC-3 International Organising Committee (WIOC) with clear terms of reference.
The Executive Council noted the difficult financial situation of WCRP and expected shortage of funds for its activities in the next financial period. It urged the Secretary-General to find ways and means for maintaining the momentum of WCRP activities in implementing its new Strategy for 2005-2015. The Executive Council appealed to other WCRP sponsors than WMO to maintain and enhance their contributions to the Joint Climate Research Fund and called on WCRP to increase the efforts to seek extra-budgetary resources for its activities. The Executive Council also encouraged additional direct contributions from Members to WCRP activities. The Executive Council will review the WCRP budget allocation for the next biennium. The Executive Council also suggested that as a temporary measure, WMO, in conjunction with WCRP, look towards achieving a balance of staffing costs and coordinating activities as existed in the previous financial period.
The theme for the World Meteorological Day in 2009 will be “Weather, climate and the air we breathe”.
The Council approved the accounts for 2006 for which the External Auditor of the United Kingdom issued an unqualified opinion. It was decided to extend the appointment of the External Auditor for a four-year period until June 2012.
The Council decided that its 60th session will be held from 18 to 27 June 2008 and the 61st session from 3 to 12 June 2009.
For further information see scientific and technical programmes of WMO (summary)
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