WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION
Statement of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) at the occasion of the preparatory meeting PrepCom-2 of the World Summit on Information Society (Geneva, 17-25 February 2005)
The progress in meteorology, hydrology and related geophysical sciences have been translated into the establishment of global operational systems for the protection of life and property, mitigation of natural disasters and applications to a wide range of socio-economic activities in support of sustainable socio-economic development, environmental protection and poverty alleviation. These activities, co-ordinated by the World Meteorological Organization, contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The National Meteorological and Hydrological Services anticipate, alert and minimize the impacts of extreme events, desertification and other threats to human safety and security and to the global environment, including climate change, ozone depletion and increased pollution.
A significant threat to development is the increased impact of extreme weather and climate events. During the period 1992–2001, some 90 per cent of all natural disasters were of hydrometeorological origin, killing 622000 people and affecting two billion more. The total volume of economic losses over the same period is estimated at about US$ 450 billion, accounting for some 65 per cent of the damage arising from all natural disasters. The loss of life and property would have been even higher without the early warnings that are provided by the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, in particular through the global network of the World Meteorological Organization.
Beyond the emergency aspects of natural disasters, provision of weather, climate and water information to the large range of weather-sensitive economic sectors can be of enormous socio-economic benefit. Health, transport, urban development, food security, management of water, energy and other resources, tourism and leisure directly benefit from access to weather, water and climate information.
The application of ICTs is essential for:
The collection and exchange of earth observations, especially related to weather, climate and water, required for the analysis, monitoring and forecasting of the state of the earth;
The delivery of weather, climate and water information and warnings as comprehensive and effective services to population in support of safety of life and property, and to the large range of weather-sensitive economic sectors in support of development.
The World Meteorological Organization supports the WSIS target, given in Paragraph 6.(g) of the Operational Part, concerning the establishment of monitoring and early-warning systems, using ICTs, to forecast and monitor the impact of natural and man-made disasters
The World Meteorological Organization suggests to reaffirm, in the Political Chapeau, the crucial role of ICTs in the observation and prediction of the state of the earth for the protection of life and properties, and for development.