WMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) with 191 Member States and Territories. It is the UN system's authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the land and oceans, the weather and climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.
As weather, climate and the water cycle know no national boundaries, international cooperation at a global scale is essential for the development of meteorology and operational hydrology as well as to reap the benefits from their application. WMO provides the framework for such international cooperation.
WMO originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873 to facilitate the exchange of weather information across national borders. Established in 1950, the WMO became a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1951. Its mandate is in the areas of meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences. Since its establishment, WMO has played a unique and powerful role in contributing to the safety and welfare of humanity. It has fostered collaboration between the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of its Members and furthered the application of meteorology in many areas.
WMO continues to facilitate free and unrestricted exchange of data and information, products and services in real- or near-real time on matters relating to safety and security of society, economic welfare and the protection of the environment. It contributes to policy formulation in these areas at national and international levels.
The Organization plays a leading role in international efforts to monitor and protect the environment through its Programmes. In collaboration with other United Nations agencies and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, WMO supports the implementation of a number of environmental conventions and is instrumental in providing advice and assessments to governments on related matters. These activities contribute towards ensuring the sustainable development and well-being of nations.
Disaster Reduction Goal
The Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Programme assists Members in developing and delivering services that are directed at protecting lives, livelihoods and property from natural hazard in a cost-effective, systematic, and sustainable manner. This ultimately contributes to resilient and sustainable development under a changing climate.
The scope of the Programme encompasses strengthening the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services capacities to:
- support preparedness through early warning systems;
- provide hazard information for risk assessments, prevention, response and recovery, and risk transfer across sectors;
- mitigate existing risks and prevent the creation of new risks;
- respond to user requirements; and
- cooperate and engage in disaster risk governance structures at all levels.
Policies and Programmes in DRR
The implementation of the HFA by national governments is leading to changes in national DRR policies, legal and institutional frameworks, with implications on the role, responsibilities and new working arrangements for the NMHSs. These changes provide opportunities, such as increased recognition of the NMHSs by their governments and stakeholders, which could result in strengthened partnerships and increased resources. However, NMHS face increasing demand and liabilities related to the provision of products and services to a larger and more diverse group of DRR stakeholders (e.g. government authorities, public and private sectors, NGOs, general public and media, etc.) whom have direct responsibilities for DRR decision-making.
To meet these new challenges the cross-cutting DRR Programme two-tier work plan (hereafter referred to as the “DRR Work Plan”) aims to facilitate better alignment of the activities of WMO constituent bodies and global operational network as well as strategic partners to assist NMHSs to:
1. Engage effectively in the National DRR governance and institutional frameworks;
2. Identify, prioritize, establish partnerships and service delivery agreements with national DRR user community (users);
3. Establish partnership agreements with other national technical agencies (e.g., hydrological services, ocean services, etc.) as well as global and regional specialized centres (e.g. Global Producing Centres (GPC), Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres (RSMCs), Regional Climate Centres (RCC), Tsunami Watch Centres, etc.), with standard operating procedures;
4. Develop and deliver core and specialized products and services for DRR decision support (e.g., hazard/risk analysis, multi-hazard EWS, sectoral risk management and disaster risk financing and risk transfer) in a cost-effective, systematic and sustainable manner;
5. Ensure that core operational capacities (e.g., observing networks, forecasting systems, telecommunication systems, data management systems, human resources, etc.) are built upon the principles of Quality Management Systems (QMS) to support product and service development and delivery;
6. Engage in regional and global efforts for development of risk information for large scale and transboundary hazards, through strengthened regional and global cooperation.
Two-tier DRR Programme Work Plan 2012 – 2015
The implementation of the two-tier DRR Programme Work Plan, includes: (i) development of thematic guidelines, standards and training modules, based on documentation and synthesis of good practices; and (ii) coordinated DRR and climate adaptation national/regional capacity development projects:
For the knowledge products and standards, during the 2012-2015 timeframe, a number of guidelines, manuals and standards are being developed related to hydro-meteorological hazard definitions, standardization of hazard databases, metadata and statistical analysis and forecasting techniques Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems, climate services for disaster risk financing and parametric insurance and requirements of the humanitarian community for meteorological and climate services.
Coordinated DRR and Adaptation national/regional capacity development projects
In 2011, the Sixteenth WMO Congress endorsed: (i) DRR and Adaptation DRR national/regional capacity development projects in South East Europe, the Caribbean, and South-East Asia; and (ii) national Costa Rica Early Warning System Project funded by the World Bank.
Linkages to Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS)
Through the aforementioned implementation approach, the DRR Programme is significantly contributing to the development of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS).
Membership in Key Networks
• Inter-Agency Group
• International Flood Initiative (IFI)
• Associated Programme on Flood Management (APFM)
• Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP)
• Five Regional Tropical Cyclone committees managed by Tropical Cyclone Programme (TCP)
• Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s Intergovernmental Coordination Groups for Tsunami Warning Systems
• Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine
• World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), (WMO is a co-sponsor with ICSU and UNESCO)
• ISDR Platform for Promotion of Early Warning (PPEW)
• ISDR System Thematic Cluster/Platform on Knowledge and Education,
• Global Risk Identification Programme (GRIP)
• OECD High Level Panel on International Network on Financial Management of Large Scale Catastrophes
• International Research Centre on El Niño (CIIFEN)
• International Council for Science (ICSU)
• More than 40 specialized meteorological and climate centres (e.g. six tropical cyclone forecasting centres, 4 drought management centers, etc.)
• Six Regional Network of Meteorological Services
• Consultative Group of the Space Agencies, EUMETNET
National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, National committees of water, oceanographic and earth sciences, Coastal Zone Management
Making disaster risk reduction a policy priority, institutional strengthening (HFA 1)
National Policy forums are held in a number of countries and regions to demonstrate the role of NMHS and climate services in supporting DRR decision-making.
Risk assessment and early warning systems (HFA 2)
Several Publications in this areas have been developed and released. Comprehensive projects for strengthening national capacities in risk analysis and Early Warning Systems have been initiated in a number of regions and countries as an integral part of a comprehensive approach to DRR.
Education, information and public awareness (HFA 3)
WMO is undertaking a major initiative to develop guidelines, manuals and standard for hazard definition, monitoring, detecting and mapping of 10 primary hazards of concern to WMO Members.
Disaster Risk Reduction Focal Point(s)
Alasdair Hainsworth, Chief of Disaster Risk Reduction Programme (firstname.lastname@example.org)
7 bis, Avenue de la Paix, CP 2300 1211 Geneva 2 Switzerland
GP 2013 delegation
GP 2011 delegation
GP 2009 delegation
Conferences: - 5th AFRP
- 6th AMCDRR
- UNISDR Science and Technology Conference
- AMCDRR 2016
- 2017 Global Platform
- 2018 CASC
- 2018 AMCDRR
- 2019 Global Platform