World Meteorological Congress: Facing Up to Climate Change, Extreme Weather
GENEVA -- The World Meteorological Congress meets from 25 May to 12 June with a focus on how to strengthen weather and climate services to meet the needs of a growing global population and cope with climate variability and change, extreme weather and related shocks on all socio-economic sectors.
Congress takes place every four years and decides on the strategy, policies, priorities, budget and office holders of the 191-Member World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Greater international cooperation and investment in weather and climate observations and services is essential to build weather and climate resilience, promote sustainable development and help humanity cope with the changing climate, said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.
“So far in 2015 – as in preceding years – weather-related disasters have destroyed or disrupted millions of lives and livelihoods,” said Mr Jarraud. “Cyclone Pam reversed economic development in Vanuatu, even though disaster preparedness and early warnings kept human casualties to a minimum,” said Mr Jarraud.
“Southeast Brazil and California are gripped by relentless drought. Historic flooding caused devastation in the Chilean desert and the southern African nation of Malawi. The list of extreme events is long and there is growing scientific evidence that at least some of them would have been unlikely without human-induced climate change,” said Mr Jarraud.
“The annual maximum winter extent of Arctic sea ice, reached in late February 2015, was the lowest on the satellite record. The global average monthly concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed the symbolic benchmark of 400 parts per million in March 2015 for the first time since measurements began. This will commit our planet to a warmer future for many generations to come.”
Post 2015 Global Agenda
Congress will discuss the strategic contribution of WMO and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in the post-2015 new global agenda on sustainable development, climate and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Congress will consider progress in implementing the WMO-spearheaded Global Framework for Climate Services. This aims to improve the supply and use of climate services to help adaptation efforts. It currently prioritizes agriculture and food security, water resources management, health, disaster management and urban environments. Congress will consider the development of on-line GFCS learning programmes.
The 2015 session is scheduled to discuss expanding observation and research activities to increase understanding of the Earth system, in particular the interactions between the ocean, land, the cryosphere and the atmosphere. The rapid changes in snow and ice cover have far-reaching impacts on the rest of the world.
Congress is also expected to agree to more cross-cutting approach to meeting the needs of urban areas, which will be home to 70% of the world’s population by 2050, risking exposure to multiple weather and water-related hazards and environmental stressors like pollution.
The session will adopt a Strategic Plan and Budget that will guide and support the activities of WMO for 2016–2019.
A wide-range of programmes, including observations, research, capacity development, partnerships, and education and training will be discussed.
A new UN Interagency Women’s Leadership Programme will be launched: “Women in Diplomacy: The Leading Role of Women in Weather and Climate Contexts.” There will also be a focus on enhanced involvement of youth and early career scientists in WMO activities.
Congress will appoint a new WMO Secretary-General to replace Michel Jarraud, who will stand down at the end of 2015 after serving three terms in office. It will also elect the WMO President, Vice Presidents and members of the Executive Council.
The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water