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World Meteorological Day 2005
WMO Regional Association VI (Europe)
14th session

The 2005 World Summit

World Meteorological Day 2005  

Mark Twain once observed: Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get. Years later, our understanding of meteorological and hydrological sciences has advanced far beyond the knowledge that existed in Twains time. Nevertheless, the complexities of weather and climate can still conspire to catch us unawares, sometimes with catastrophic and tragic results which can set back social and economic programmes for decades. This was the general theme of World Meteorological Day 2005 on 23 March55 years after the Convention for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) came into force. 

Weather, climate, water and sustainable development was aimed at generating more awareness about the vulnerability of developing nations when faced with extreme weather and water events and how preparation and early warning systems play a crucial role in reducing loss of life, property and infrastructure.   







Paintings submitted by children to a competition in Turkey


In his speech to mark the occasion, WMO Secretary-General Mr Michel Jarraud said: It is estimated that, over the 10-year period 1992-2001, about 90 per cent of all natural disasters were of hydrometeorological origin, killing 622,000 people, affecting more than two billion, devastating cultivated land and spreading disease. The total volume of economic losses over the same period is estimated at US$ 446 billion, accounting for about 65 per cent of the damage arising from all natural disasters. Weaker countries suffer most and the limited resources that could be invested in development are often used for disaster relief. It is projected that climate change is likely to cause an increase in certain types of natural disasters. 

Mr Jarraud also emphasized that a major objective of WMO wasto halve fatalities of natural disasters of meteorological, hydrological and climatic origin within 15 years.   



Schoolchildren in Busingiro, Uganda (right) and in Tipton, Devon, England, built and tested waterwheels on World Met Day 2005.


At WMO Headquarters in Geneva, special guest was World Trade Organization Director General, Supachai Panitchpakdi. He delivered a speech underlining the need to successfully conclude global trade talks known as the Doha Development Round and their importance to sustainable development. He finished on a positive note: Sustainable development issues pervade all aspects of the Doha Development Agenda, and the Doha Round does have the capacity to deliver sustainable development gains. The World Summit on Sustainable Development has called for the successful completion of the Doha Round, and this is what WTO Members are currently striving to achieve. WTO Members are now giving positive signals that they want to conclude this round by 2006. 

National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) are well equipped to create more awareness about these issues and World Meteorological Day presents an ideal opportunity to do so. Celebrations including film showings, school visits and competitions, seminars and roundtable discussions were some of the approaches employed. 

At the Australia Bureau of Meteorology, a speech by the Chief Executive of the  Murray-Darling Basin Commission focused on that region and the challenges that weather and climate present in relation to the management of water and sustainable development. The Murray-Darling Basin in south-east Australia contains about 30 000 wetlands, many of which are threatened by human activity. 

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department held an exhibition of meteorological instruments and charts and initiated a special World Meteorological Day supplement in the New Nation newspaper, incorporating messages from the President, Prime Minister and Secretary Minister. 

Ethiopias National Meteorological Services Agency highlighted the WMOs role with regard to early warning systems and meeting the United Nations Millienium Development Goals. 

Indonesias Meteorological and Geophysical Agency featured a one-day seminar: Service Activities of Meteorological, Climatology, Geophysics and Air Quality for Public Society,  which was attended by some 290 people. Experts used the occasion to present a number of scientific papers. Topics included the use of weather data and GIS technology for forest fire early warnings and Indonesias preparedness for tsunami early warnings. 

The Hydrometeorological Service of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia invited guests from other Balkan countries, including Albania, Croatia, Bulgaria and Serbia and Montenegro. Delegates signed a memorandum of understanding and took part in roundtable discussions with the aim of enhancing activities at subregional level. 

Prime Minister Soe Win was the keynote speaker in Myanmar during an event at which the new Website of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology was launched. Eight scientific papers were delivered and awards made for essays and articles.  

Numerous proceedings were hosted in the Russian Federation, including a TV programme, which prompted a series of press articles throughout the country. Other features were scientific and press conferences; roundtables focusing on the Days theme;  scientific papers; exhibitions and even musical greetings and dedications broadcast over the radio for the staff of hydrometeorological offices. 

Some 9 000 people visited the exhibition Days of meteorology hosted by the Turkey State Meteorological Service; students from 96 primary schools took part in an essay and painting competition. 

The Met Office, UK, linked up schoolchildren in Devon and Uganda to share climate and weather information via the Internet. The children in Uganda were from farming families who are totally reliant on regular and predictable weather patterns. In the last few years they had been experiencing drought and food shortages. The weather has a direct impact on their liveswhether their crops will grow and thus whether they will eat or not. 

Children in the United Kingdom were encouraged to study methods of harnessing the weather to provide energy, including solar panels, ovens and wind turbines. Getting children involved in weather at an early age will foster a lifelong interest in the natural environment..

Other events commemorating WMOs 55 years of existence took place in Armenia, where senior staff from the State Hydrometeorological and Monitoring Service spoke on national television and radio. Five booklets on relevant subjects were issued. 

The Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Service set up a three-day exhibition, where visitors were able to examine the countrys new automatic observing station. 

Ecuadors National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology organized an open day, which afforded the public a chance to study WMO material first hand. 

Guinea opted for a radio-televised address by the Minister of Transport, Mr. Aliou Conde, who accentuated the importance of the National Meteorology Service in relation to socio-economic development and public safety. A two-day conference took place in the capital, Conakry, placing the emphasis on teaching young people more about protecting the climate and environment. 

In Milan, Italy, at the Duomo Meteorological Observatory, experts and invitees considered a range of topics including Kyoto Protocol and climate change in the Adriatic Sea. 

Libyan Arab Jamahiriyas National Meteorological Centre inaugurated its new premises in Eswani. More than 350 participants witnessed the ceremony and visited an exhibition on climatological and weather bulletins, plus traditional and modern observing equipment. Three research papers (on sustainable development, tsunami and El Nio) were presented. 

After several speeches from dignitaries, including the Secretary of State, the Moroccan National Meteorological Service honoured the leading meteorologist of the year and awarding prizes to competition winners. 

The principal focus of Pakistan Meteorological Department was an explanatory exhibition of conventional and electronic equipment, weather charts and images, together with posters and pamphlets related to the subject. 

An open day at the Hydrometeorological Institute of Slovakia attracted numerous visitors, many of whom were children who showed particular interest in the WMO cartoon-style publication: We care for our climate. Two days of roundtable discussions were held in Uzbekistans Centre of Hydrometeorological Service. A summary of the talks was made into a science and documentary film: Weather makers. 

World Meteorological Congress decided that the theme for World Meteorological Day 2006 would be Preventing and mitigating natural disasters.   

WMO Regional Association (RA) VI (Europe)
14th session

The 14th session of RA VI was held from 7 to 15 September in Heidelberg, Germany. It was preceded by the two-day Technical Conference on International Cooperation in Weather, Climate and Water Issues in Regional Association VI (Europe): Challenges and Opportunities. Regional cooperation was a key theme of both the Conference and the RA VI session.

In his opening statement, WMO Secretary-General, Mr Michel Jarraud said: "This is an important first step in providing a better coordinated infrastructure for the entire RA VI region. The past few years have shown that every Member is at risk from extreme meteorological and hydrological events. Much work remains to be done but, I am convinced that the eventual implementation of a Regional Strategic Plan will permit the rapid and efficient transfer of data which will improve regional and local forecasts, help save lives and protect property and allow timely decisions to be taken with respect to agriculture".

RA VI president, Mr Daniel Keuerleber-Burk, said the Association had had the flexibility and the determination to address the challenges emerging from a fast-changing Europe. He expressed particular satisfaction that it was possible to begin to develop a strategic plan for RA VI and to agree on a concrete set of actions for the intersessional period over the next four years.

The Association agreed on guiding principles and key elements to serve as a basis for the Strategic Plan. Over the seven-day event, and during the preceding technical conference, Members approved several necessary structural and organizational measures; in particular, the adoption of an Action Plan for implementation while the Strategic Plan was being developed.

Mr Daniel K. Keuerleber-Burk (Switzerland) was elected president and Dr Andris Leitass (Latvia) vice-president of RA VI.

The session re-established five working groups and established a new working group on national disaster prevention and mitigation. It appointed new rapporteurs, as well as a task team to cover the Strategic and Action Plans. The need was recognized to work more closely together and achieve a better equilibrium between developed and developing nations.


The 2005 World Summit

This high-level plenary meeting took place from 14 to 16 September 2005 during the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York.

It reviewed progress on combating poverty and meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Of particular relevance to the mandate of WMO are the following Goals:

Halve the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day or suffering from hunger

Halve the proportion of people who are unable to reach or afford safe drinking-water

Address vulnerability, risk assessment and disaster management, including prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, as an essential element for a safe world

Address issues related to climate change, including monitoring, projection and implementation of relevant strategies at national, regional and international levels

Ensure environmental sustainability.

Some 150 Heads of State and Government agreed to take action on a range of global challenges:

Peacebuilding, peacekeeping and peacemaking
Responsibility to protect
Human rights, democracy and rule of law
Management reform
Humanitarian assistance
Updating the UN Charter

Concerning the environment, they recognized the serious challenge posed by climate change and a commitment to take action through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Assistance will be provided to those most vulnerable, such as Small Island Developing States. They agreed to create a worldwide early warning system for all natural hazards.


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