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WMO Programme for the Least
Developed Countries (LDCs)

The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) constitute a special category of countries that are characterized by extreme poverty, weak economies, inadequate institutional and human resources and often vulnerable to natural disasters.

To address the special problems and needs of the LDCs, Fourteenth World Meteorological Congress (May 2003) established the WMO Programme for LDCs to enhance the capacity of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to contribute effectively to the socio-economic development of these countries. The Programme was established as a contribution to the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA) for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010, which was adopted in May 2001 by the Third United Nations Conference on the LDCs.



The Brussels Programme of Action for the LDCs contains specific goals and targets in the form of the following seven action-oriented commitments:

Commitment 1: Fostering a people-centred policy framework;
Commitment 2: Good governance at national and international levels
Commitment 3: Building human and institutional capacities
Commitment 4: Building productive capacities to make globalization work for LDCs
Commitment 5: Enhancing the role of trade in development
Commitment 6: Reducing vulnerabilities and protecting the environment; and
Commitment 7: Mobilizing financial resources.

The full realization of the above seven commitments, in particular Nos 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 will require the appropriate use of weather, climate and water services.

To ensure the effective implementation of the WMO Programme for LDCs, a dedicated Office has been established within the Secretariat. It acts as focal point to liaise with the UN Offices for Least Developed Countries and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, as well as other institutions of relevance for the implementation of the Programme.

Considering its cross-cutting nature, a number of activities are being carried out in support of NMHSs of most of the 50 LDCs under the WMO Programme for the Least Developed Countries and through the other scientific and technical programmes of the Organization. This includes the provision of fellowships; supporting the participation of experts from LDCs in WMO meetings; carrying out special advocacy and project-formulation activities; and the organization of innovative capacity-building initiatives including workshops on good practices in the beneficial and effective use of weather-, climate-, and water-related services in sustainable socio-economic development.

In 2006, WMO participated in various inter-agency consultation meetings to prepare for the mid-term comprehensive review of the implementation of the Brussels Plan of Action for the Least Developed Countries. It also participated in the Regional Preparatory Meeting of the African LDCs in the Economic Commission for Africa held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in February, and in the Ministerial Conference of all the LDCs in Cotonou, Benin, in June. WMO further participated in the High-level Meeting of the 61st session of the UN General Assembly in September, when world leaders re-committed themselves to meeting the special needs of the LDCs and recognized that their efforts need to be reinforced with substantial support from the international community.

In September 2006, WMO organized a special event “Weather, Climate and Water Services for Development and Disaster Mitigation in LDCs” as part of the mid-term comprehensive global review of the implementation of the BPoA for the decade 2001-2010. The special event proved an effective mechanism for enhancing and promoting the image and the visibility of WMO and the NMHSs within the United Nations system and Member countries.

See leaflet: Weather, Climate and Water Services for Least Developed Countries

Planned activities include the following:

  • The development and organization of demonstration/pilot projects on the contribution of meteorological and hydrological and related environmental information, products and services to the sustainable development of the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), especially in poverty alleviation, disaster risk reduction, environmental protection, food security, health, energy and water resources management;
  • The organization of capacity-building activities for senior- and middle-level staff of LDC NMHSs, particularly in leadership, management, resource mobilization, strategic planning, marketing and communication;
  • Preparation and implementation of development and modernization plans of NMHSs of LDCs and SIDS, including projects that are of relevance to, and consistent with, national development strategies and programmes and of high impact value to the relevant commitments enshrined in the Brussels Programme of Action for the LDCs;
  • Promoting the awareness of policy- and decision-makers and other stakeholders of the socio-economic benefits of weather-, climate- and water-related services;
  • The development and implementation of Internet connection projects in LDCs in need; and
  • The preparation of guidelines for promoting the contributions of NMHSs and WMO towards the attainment of internationally agreed development goals including those contained in the Millennium Declaration.
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