GENEVA, 31 October 2012 - UNISDR Chief Margareta Wahlstrom spoke to the opening session of this week's extraordinary session of the World Meteorological Congress which is discussing the implementation plan and governance model for the Global Framework for Climate Services.
Ms. Wahlstrom congratulated the World Meteorological Organization on the initiative and said UNISDR is honored to have been requested to lead on one of the four priority areas, disaster risk reduction, which is closely linked to the other three, health, water and food security.
She said: "Over the last ten years the top 40 recipients of humanitarian aid experienced over 1,500 major reported disasters affecting over 900 million people and causing some 800,000 deaths. Many of these disaster events have been weather related. Many have caused economic losses which have put enormous strains on already fragile states.
"If anyone should benefit from a Global Framework for Climate Services then it has to be those for whom advance knowledge and understanding of extreme weather events can be the difference between a good crop and a bad crop, or the difference between a timely evacuation to a safe location and being caught unawares in rising floodwaters. Weather is often a matter of life and death, especially for the rural and urban poor."
She said it was "encouraging to note the willingness of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services around the world to work more closely with disaster managers, the private sector, national and regional platforms for disaster risk reduction, NGOs and civil society organizations to ensure that good information is put to good use in a timely and effective manner."
She also hopes to build on this dialogue to strengthen implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action and the instrument that will follow on from it in 2015. The extraordinary session of the World Meterological Congress 2012 is taking place from October 29 to 31.