"Until now, the way that we deliver climate information to some sectors has been ad hoc. What we need is a formal system that all people can trust to access vital information that can save their lives and protect property and economies," said Mr Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which is convening WCC-3 with the host country Switzerland and partners this week in Geneva. "The Global Framework will enable such a formalized system, by boosting the observations and research we have available for monitoring the climate and then facilitating the creation of sector- and regional-specific products and services that will be readily available to all who need it."
By providing climate information and predictions to decision-makers in all countries, the Global Framework aims to reduce losses caused by extreme weather and climate events such as heatwaves, sand storms, cyclones, drought and floods. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that such extremes will become more frequent and intense as the climate continues to warm.
"Extreme weather events and changing climatic conditions affect all of us, frequently resulting in humanitarian disasters and heavy losses" stressed Hans-Rudolf Merz, President of the Swiss Confederation, host country of WCC-3, who opened the Conference on 31 August. "The objective of WCC-3 is to avoid such disasters, and to provide public authorities with the required tools - precipitation forecasts, hazard maps, early warning systems and long-term environmental prospects. These forecasts have to be translated for decision-makers in their respective sectors like food security, water management, health care and tourism, for instance."
The WCC-3 Expert Segment, from 31 August to 2 September, will provide vital inputs to the Global Framework, as it will include climate scientists, as well as experts from various sectors affected by climate. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Alexander Bedritsky, President of WMO and Chair of the Expert Segment said: "The presentations by climate scientists and service providers, as well as experts in food, water, energy, disaster risk reduction, tourism, transport, the environment, will identify priority areas for developing climate services that address user needs. They will also provide an important snapshot of the state of observations, research and assessments at both the national and regional scales."
The task of implementing the Global Framework for Climate Services, which will be under consideration by some 15 Heads of State and Government, more than 80 ministers and delegations representing more than 150 countries attending the High-Level Segment (3-4 September), requires the participation of all countries, as well as the United Nations System and countless international partners.
"We are faced with an enormous, yet imperative, task - to lay the groundwork for all countries, all sectors, all people impacted by climate variability and change to take decisive actions to adapt to the changing landscape," said Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Climate Change. "We can not only rely on individual projects or individual agencies to undertake this task. The international community needs to unite to make science-based information on climate available to all."
WCC-3 opens today at 9 a.m. at the CICG in Geneva. More than 2000 people are participating. The opening ceremony speakers include:
- Mr Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary-General
- Mr Hans-Rudolf Merz, President of the Swiss Confederation
- Mr Alexander Bedritsky, WMO President
- Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Change
- Mr Kofi Annan, President of the Global Humanitarian Forum
- Mr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union
- Mr Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of the IPCC Working Group I
For more information please contact WMO Communications and Public Affairs:
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- Ms Lisa Muñoz, WCC-3 Press Officer, tel. +41 (0) 22 730 8213. E-mail: email@example.com (general requests and special events)
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Fact Sheet 1: Disaster risk
Fact Sheet 2: Human health
Fact sheet 3: Water needs
Fact sheet 4: Securing food
Fact sheet 5: Transport and tourism
Fact sheet 6: Healthy environment
Fact sheet 7: Sustainable energy
Website of the WCC-3
Address for enquiries:
Mr Adrian Aeschlimann, (Spokesperson for the Swiss delegation), Head of Media Office, Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, tel. +41 (0) 79 277 51 83