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WMO’S ROLE IN DISASTER MITIGATION AND RESPONSE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES by M.Jarraud Secretary-General World Meteorological Organization. El Niño. Weather, water and climate-related hazards. Hot & cold spells. Droughts. River basin flooding. Tropical cyclones.

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  • by

  • M.Jarraud

  • Secretary-General

  • World Meteorological Organization

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El Niño

Weather, water and climate-related hazards

Hot & cold spells


River basin flooding

Tropical cyclones

Heavy precipitations

(rain or snow)

Storm surges

Ice Storms

Storm (winds)

Dust storms

Wildland fires

& haze


Mud & landslides

Flash floods



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Climate change - Third IPCC assessment report - impacts

  • In 2100 half of the world population will be under water stress

  • Subtropical zones: Less precipitations; increased desertification

  • Tropical zones: Increased health risks

  • High latitudes:permafrost decrease

  • Coastal zones: coastal erosion; storm surges; salt water intrusions

  • Cost of global warming in 2050: 300 billion US Dollars per year (Munich Re)

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International Framework

  • ISDR succeeded IDNDR

  • ProVention

  • Several significant Declarations, Agendas and Conventions

    • Millennium Declaration

    • UNFCCC (climate change)

    • UNCCD (desertification)

    • Freshwater Agenda

    • World Summit on Sustainable Development

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Role of WMO in disaster management

  • Monitoring

  • Forecast and early warnings

  • Vulnerability analysis and risk assessment

  • Applications (agriculture, water resources, etc)




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WMO’s contribution to natural disaster mitigation and reduction

  • Adopting a framework for guidance and monitoring of disaster reduction

  • Risk identification

  • Knowledge management

  • Risk management applications

  • Preparedness and emergency management

  • Governance support

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Risk Identification reduction

  • Monitoring

  • Early warnings for weather water or climate related disasters

  • Adaptation measures

  • Vulnerability assessment and Hazard analysis

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Risk Identification: monitoring (5) reduction

900 Argo floats in operation by mid-2003. By 2005, some 3 000 floats are planned.

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Risk Identification: Early warnings (1) reduction

120 h

96 h

72 h

48 h

24 h

Ensemble Pred. tools

EPS, Probabilities

Global models

Global models

Limited Area models

L.A. models

Nowcasting tools


Warnings Activities

Time dependency of forecast methods used for the preparation and maintenance of warnings at DWD (From Thomas Shuman –DWD)

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Risk Identification: Early warnings (2) reduction

Strike probability (within 65 nm) of Typhoon Rusa over the next 120 hours.

Starting time of the forecast is 27 August 2002 12 UTC.

Full dots give the observed position over the period 27 August to 1 September 2002


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Risk Identification: Early warnings (3) reduction

  • Observational data are needed for the study of climate variability and issue of warnings for climate-related disasters - issued from weeks to seasons in advance if adequate climate predictions are available

  • Regular assessments and authoritative statements on climate variability

  • Climate alert system for early warnings on pending significant climate anomalies

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Risk Identification: Early warnings (4) reduction

  • WMO’s World Climate Programme (WCP) is monitoring and issuing El Niño outlooks, which alerts governments to prepare to El Niño related anomalies

  • Regional Climate Outlook – important development for evaluation of seasonal forecasts

  • Forums have become regular meetings in some regions, where NMHSs meet to discuss global climate model outputs and develop consensus seasonalforecasts for regional and local use

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Risk Identification: Adaptation measures reduction

  • Adaptation is a response measure promoted by the UNFCC and early warning systems are one way of reducing vulnerability and enhancing adaptive capacity to weather events and climate change.

  • Enhanced collaboration is needed between the climate and disaster reduction communities to the implementation of measures as environmental planning, data and information pooling, improved observation systems, best practices exchange, strengthened technical cooperation, and close collaboration with policy makers.

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Risk Identification: Vulnerability assessment reduction

Linkage between climate and disaster databases to assess different vulnerabilities.

A pilot project is on going in Chile linking climate with flood disaster databases with the support of WMO through the World Climate Programme as part of the activities of IATF working Groups on Climate and Disasters and on Risk, Vulnerability and Impact Assessment

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Risk Identification: Hazard analysis reduction

  • Improved hazard analysis and hazard mapping are needed to be extended to all countries as a tool for risk communication among policy makers and communities.

  • Hazard maps are essential to prepare evacuation efficiently and to allow authorities to adjust land use and city planning.

  • WMO will continue to assist NMHSs in developing and managing climate databases, through the Data Rescue and Climate Database Management Projects.

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Knowledge Management (1) reduction

  • Many hazards associated with high-impact weather involve smaller-scale atmospheric phenomena, which exhibit still low predictive skills (e.g., localized heavy precipitation)

  • Further improvements in the prediction of high-impact weather and in the full utilization of forecast information

  • WMO’s World Weather Research Programme

  • - support to cooperative international research projects and experiments (e.g. THORPEX)

  • - translate research findings into policy and operational actions for high impact weather phenomena

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Knowledge Management (2) reduction

  • User education and awareness are essential:

    • to increase weather literacy and interest in meteorological topics

    • to ensure that warnings and forecasts provided by the NMHSs are understood by the intended users

    • to build up a high level of awareness of hazards and preparedness

    • to enable emergency management authorities to make well-informed decisions

  • WMO’s Public Weather Services Programme contributes to this effort for the interpretation of forecasts and warnings

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Risk Management Applications (1) reduction

  • The Associated Programme on Flood ManagementPromotes the concept of Integrated Flood Management across sectors

    • Collect case studies and conducts pilot projects to mitigate flood-related disasters and to develop community approaches to flood management.

    • Application of a set of guidelines and best practice for use by NHSs for existing and planned activities in flood management

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Risk Management Applications (2) reduction

WMO’s Agricultural Meteorology Programme

Provides guidance on the development of support systems for sustainable land management and agro-climatic zoning with the active participation of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology.

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Preparedness and emergency management reduction

  • Timely and accurate forecasts and warnings of natural hazards coupled with adequate local preparedness planning are fundamental requirements for disaster reduction

  • Optimal response to natural disasters requires effective coordination and cooperation between responsible agencies, institutions, officials, the media, political leaders and other players at local, national and international levels

  • WMO will support the NMHSs to establish and enhance partnerships between NMHSs and the national authorities and organizations involved in the natural disaster reduction activities to improve preparedness and emergency planning

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Governance Support reduction

  • Legislation and adequate normative framework are essential to implement risk management.

  • Political commitment is crucial to allocate the necessary resources.

  • Contributions of NMHSs need to be integrated in national disaster management plans.

  • WMO is supporting NMHSs to promote natural disaster reduction and mitigation as national priority action by the Governments.

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Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Programme (1) reduction

  • Fourteenth WMO Congress (May 2003)

  • Recognized the significant role WMO and NMHSs play in international disaster reduction activities concerning mitigation of, and preparedness for, natural disasters of meteorological or hydrological origin

  • Decided to initiate a new WMO major programme on Natural Disaster Prevention and Mitigation(building on all relevant WMO Programmes and activities) as a crosscutting programme to enhance international cooperation and collaboration in the field of natural disaster activities

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Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Programme (2) reduction

  • To develop an effective and efficient mechanism to provide, in an integrated fashion, theWMO response to the requirements and needs of Members and international communityconcerning disaster reduction in light of related developments

  • To encourage and assist Members in developing/enhancingNMHSs contribution to national disaster preparednessprogrammes in a more fully integrated manner, especially in coordination withnational civil defence/disaster coordination offices

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Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Programme (3) reduction

  • To ensure that activities and results of relevant WMO Programmes are fully used in the process of the WMO’s participation in theInternational Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)

  • To enhance WMO’s role and recognition as one of the leading international organizations dealing with disaster reduction, in particular throughactive participation in high-level global fora and related activities

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International Framework (1) reduction

  • Natural disasters affect all countries, but burden falls disproportionately on developing countries

  • Support to natural disaster reduction is both an issue of sustainable development and a matter of environmental justice requiring international solidarity

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International Framework (2) reduction

  • ISDR succeeded IDNDR

  • Several significant Declarations, Agendas and Conventions:

    • Millennium Declaration

    • UNFCCC (climate change)

    • UNCCD (desertification)

    • Freshwater Agenda

    • World Summit on Sustainable Development

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Conclusions (1) reductionNeed for an integrated approach

  • National and regional levels

    • Role of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services

    • Cooperation across disciplines and agencies

    • Links with academic community

  • International level

    • Between IGOs and NGOs concerned

    • Capacity building and transfer of technology activities

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Conclusions (2) reductionNeed for an integrated approach

  • In multiple domains

    • observations

    • communications

    • data processing (incl NWP)

  • Accross disciplines

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Thank You reduction