Disaster Risk Reduction a Priority for World Meteorological Organization

The recent World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Congress ended with the adoption of a new strategic plan prioritising disaster risk reduction.

The strategic plan sets out WMO’s priorities for the post 2015 global agenda. These include, amongst others, disaster risk reduction, climate services to help climate change adaptation and sustainable development, and a strengthening of observation and information systems.

WMO will also set up a new Small Island Developing States programme in a bid to increase resilience to extreme weather events and other adverse impacts of climate change in low-lying island nations such as Solomon Islands, Fiji and Mauritius.

WMO Congress, 2015. Photo: WMO
WMO Congress, 2015. Photo: WMO

Disaster Risk Reduction

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, stressed the need for the focus on disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the work of the World Meteorological Organization.

“Even as Congress met, we witnessed a number of extreme events including the deadly heatwave in India and the torrential rain and flooding in the southern United States of America,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “High impact weather and climate extremes are likely to occur with greater frequency and intensity due to climate change.”

“Rising temperatures, a changing water cycle, record amounts of greenhouse gases, and warming and acidifying oceans are having a major impact on society,” said Mr Jarraud.

As part of its emphasis on disaster risk reduction, WMO aims to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of high quality impact-based forecasts and multi-hazard early warnings of extreme weather, climate, water and environmental events from the tropics to the poles.

It also aims to improve the provision and use of climate services like seasonal to sub-seasonal predictions, especially for priority areas of food security, water management, health and disaster risk reduction.

The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water. WMO have appointed Petteri Taalas, Director-General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, as the next Secretary-General for a four-year mandate, which will start on 01 January, 2016.

solomon islands floods disaster
Floods in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Photo: World Vision