October 2006 Downloads & Links

Recent events

Tenth WMO Symposium on Education and Training

Special event on Weather, Climate and Water Services for Development and Disaster Mitigation in the Least Developed Countries

Regional Association III (South America)14th session

Regional workshop on climate change and natural disasters  

European Meteorological Society  

International Disaster Reduction Conference  

World Water Week   

Living with climate variability and change  

Science Night



Tenth WMO Symposium on Education and Training
(Nanjing, China, 18-22 September 2006)

The Tenth WMO Symposium on Education and Training (SYMET-X) was held at the Nanjing University for Information and Science Technology (NUIST) Department of Meteorology. Some 140 training experts from 54 countries attended this Symposium, whose underlying theme was “Meteorological and hydrological education and training for disaster prevention and mitigation”.  

Following 37 plenary presentations and 29 poster presentations, it was noted that:

  • Most natural disasters are meteorological or hydrological in origin;

  • These types of natural disasters are increasing in intensity and frequency, and this trend is expected to continue as a result of climate change;

  • National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) have a key role in disaster prevention and mitigation by providing timely and accurate information to decision-makers;

  • There is a gap in training and education relating to disaster prevention and mitigation;

  • It is necessary to consider progress points and evaluation (and valuation) of all training programmes.


The participants agreed on the following recommendations, for the worldwide meteorological and hydrological community, in particular for relevant training institutions and organizations at national, regional and international level: 

  • Encourage meteorological/hydrological education and training for targeted user groups, including the public, media, schools, emergency response and others, through:

    - Engaging other WMO and UN groups and making use of the potential of partnerships;
    - Sharing existing resources, including those relating to meteorology/hydrology
    and natural disasters;

  • Promote:

    - The development of training on the use of ensemble forecasts for meteorologists and hydrologists, with special emphasis on the support for risk assessment by decision-makers; 
    - The use of probabilistic forecasts by agriculture groups, emergency managers, health authorities, aviation operators and regulators and other economic sectors;

  • Further enhance the capacities of the WMO Regional Training Centres and training units of NMHSs through:

    - Special training modules on disaster prevention and mitigation;
    - T
    he development of guidance for short courses on risk assessment of natural disasters;
    - Emphasis on training on the use of remote-sensed data;

    - Addressing
    the need for NMHSs to train in areas such as management and communication;
    - The use
    of computer-aided distance learning for large and geographically dispersed groups including real-time weather discussion.


Special event on Weather, Climate and Water Services for
Development and Disaster Mitigation in the Least Developed Countries

This meeting took place at UN Headquarters, New York, USA, on 13 September 2006.

The Secretary-General of WMO, Mr Michel Jarraud, warned that failure to invest adequately in the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) would undermine their efforts to reduce vulnerability to climate risks such as tropical cyclones, floods and drought and their fight against poverty.

Weather-, climate- and water-related disasters can wipe out up to 15% of an LDC’s Gross Domestic Product and overwhelm economies but every dollar invested in NMHSs brings, on average, a 10-fold return.

The Secretary-General made a keynote presentation at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Wednesday at the Special Event on Weather, Climate and Water Services for Development and Disaster Mitigation in LDCs.






Regional Association III (South America)14th session

At the kind invitation of the Government of Peru, the 14th session of Regional Association III (South America) was held in Lima, Peru, from 7 to 13 September 2006.  The session was opened by Mr Raul Michelini, acting president of the Association on 7 September 2006 at 10.00 am. The Secretary-General who addressed the participants also attended the opening of the session. There were 53 participants at the session from 11 Members of the Association, five observers from two Members from outside the Region, nine observers from eight international, regional and national organizations.

The Association discussed in depth the main issues and the urgent need to develop a Strategic Plan and the associated Action Plan for RA III reflecting priority areas and resources required for the implementation of such a Plan. Improvement of telecommunications, preparation of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) for the WMO Information System, visibility of NMHSs, use and dissemination of products from available numerical weather prediction models, new generation of NOAA’s geostationary operational environment satellite, and training of professional staff, were some of the most important issues discussed during the session.

The Association elected Mr Ramón Jesus Viñas García (Venezuela) as president and Mr Carlos Costa Posada (Colombia) as vice-president of WMO Regional Association III (South America).

The delegation of Colombia extended its invitation to host the next session of the Association in Colombia.  The Association noted the kind invitation and expressed its appreciation for this offer.


Regional workshop on climate change and natural disasters

A regional workshop on climate change and natural disasters took place in San José, Costa Rica, from 7 to 10 September for 21 journalists from Central American countries and Santo Domingo with support from the National Institute of Meteorology. Topics included responsibility and professionalism in covering natural disasters and the contribution of journalists to reducing loss of life and property in their coverage of such events.  

National Institute of Costa Rica:



European Meteorological Society

The sixth annual meeting of the European Meteorological Society (EMS) took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 4 to 8 September in parallel with the Sixth European Conference on Applied Climatology (organized by the European Climate Support Network).  

Session topics at the EMS meeting included environmental meteorology, severe weather and atmospheric hazards, as well as short-range forecasting methods. Also scheduled was a special "Media" session to examine ways of improving communication and understanding between scientists, media and the public.

Meeting and conference website:




International Disaster Reduction Conference

WMO took part in the International Disaster Reduction Conference in Davos, Switzerland, from 27 August to 1 September. 

Topics include multi-hazard management, including environmental aspects of flood management and management of weather-, climate- and water-related environmental risks, including stratospheric ozone depletion, airborne pollution, forest fires as well as floods and dust- and sandstorms.

The Conference is jointly organized by the Global Alliance for Disaster Reduction (GADR), the Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN/International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. 

See the Conference website:

See also:


World Water Week 

Experts from governments, water management and science sectors, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, research and training institutions, United Nations agencies and the business sector gathered in Stockholm, Sweden, for World Water Week 2006 (20 to 26 August).

The event featured plenary sessions and panel debates, scientific workshops, seminars, side events, exhibitions and prize ceremonies honouring excellence in the water field. On 23 August, the UN-Water Seminar addressed the issue of water scarcity. 

A World Water Week theme is selected and followed for a certain number of years. For 2003-2007, the theme is ”Drainage basin security: prospects for trade-offs and benefit sharing in a globalized world". The sub-theme for 2006 was “Beyond the river― sharing benefits and responsibilities”. 


See also:   (2006 Stockholm Water Prize)


Living with climate variability and change

As the world continues to experience extreme weather events, including heat waves in the USA and Europe, drought in Africa and severe monsoons in Asia, the need to better manage climate variability is becoming increasingly urgent. At the conference Living with Climate Variability and Change (Espoo, Finland, 17-21 July 2006), representatives of more than 60 countries discussed practical ways of achieving better management of climate risks in their short- and long-term operations.

They agreed that better understanding and operational integration of climate information, as well as collaboration and increased dialogue, are important for dealing with climate variability and change. A lack of awareness of climate-related risk management has been a major obstacle to improved prevention and loss reduction.

For more information about the conference and to read the conference statement, see: 

See also:



Science Night
Weather forecasting meets the public

The Federal Office of Meteorology and ClimatologyMeteoSwissis celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and it wishes to get better acquainted with the public. Having acquired a minibus equipped with the latest computer hardware needed for making in situ weather forecasts, MeteoSwiss can now accompany local events, which are often sports fixtures, besides demonstrating its technical capabilities.  

On 8 and 9 July, MeteoSwiss organized a Science Night at the Science Museum, Parc de la Perle du Lac, Geneva. On display were weather forecasting tools and equipment. The programme also included some 50 other stands demonstrating the exciting world of science under the theme Evolution–Revolution.

See: and  



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