4th SOFF Steering Committee Summary

The SOFF Steering Committee approves funding for the first 26 countries and accelerates implementation

The SOFF Steering Committee, the decision-making body of SOFF, met on 30 March for the fourth time. Headline decisions respond to the increased ambition of the implementation of the UN Secretary-General’s Early Warnings for All Initiative and were welcomed by Selwin Hart, UN Special Adviser and Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Action:

  • 26 countries’ funding requests were approved within 9 months since SOFF kicked off work in July 2022, supported by 16 meteorological offices and seven implementing entities.
  • At least 55 countries will be programmed by June 2023, reflecting a Pacific, Caribbean and Africa focus and including the priority countries of the UN Secretary-General’s Early Warnings for All Initiative.
  • The Netherlands announced EUR 15 million contribution to SOFF through the “Water at Heart of Climate Action” Initiative, and becomes the 10th funder of the SOFF UN fund.

The Decisions of the 4th SOFF Steering Committee meeting can be found here.

26 countries with significant data gaps are receiving SOFF support 

The 26 countries represent areas of high priority for numerical weather prediction models and where observational data are very scarce.

These countries will receive technical and financial support to build human capacity, install the needed infrastructure to collect and share data as well as operation and maintenance. Where infrastructure is already existing, SOFF will provide support to improve and re-habilitate. Global data sharing is what matters for weather forecasting and climate prediction models and will contribute to improve climate services, including early warning systems.

Pa’oleilei Lute Fatumanava, Samoa and Carlos Fuller, Belize, both representing the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), welcome SOFF’s regional approach and fully support the accelerated implementation. Carlos Fuller thanked donor countries and underlined the benefits that regions will have from SOFF support such as standardising equipment across the Caribbean islands.

These countries are supported by fifteen advanced meteorological offices and seven implementing entities.

 Africa Burkina Faso, Chad, Cabo Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Liberia, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania
Asia Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Timor-Leste
Pacific Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu
Latin America and the Caribbean Belize, Ecuador, Grenada, Guyana

Approved Funding Requests can be found here.

SOFF as a delivery vehicle of Early Warnings for All

Selwin Hart, UN Special Adviser and Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Action, opened the meeting and underlined his strong support for SOFF’s valuable work. He underlined the importance of coordination of everyone involved, to avoid duplication. Selwin Hart encouraged SOFF to accelerate implementation to respond to the ambitious roadmap for the Early Warning for All initiative launched at COP27 by the UN Secretary-General and highlighted the upcoming milestone event, the UN Secretary General’s Climate Ambition Summit in September 2023.

SOFF is the foundational element and a delivery vehicle of this Initiative – warnings are only as good as the data they are built upon. SOFF addresses the need to close existing gaps in the global basic observing network to provide actionable information for early warning systems.

With the accelerated implementation decision, SOFF Steering Committee commits to bring into the SOFF pipeline by the end of 2023, 55 countries that include priority countries of the Early Warnings for All Initiative prioritizing Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The Steering Committee also gave green light to a second batch of countries (Decision 4.4) to start working on funding requests for Readiness support. This list focuses on the Pacific to close an important gap in a region of critical importance for the global numerical weather prediction models.

Support is growing as Netherlands announce a EUR 15 million contribution for SOFF

The Netherlands announced a EUR 15 million contribution to SOFF through the “Water at the Heart of Climate” initiative announced in March 2023 at the UN Water Conference in New York. Pieter Copper, Senior Policy Officer on Climate of Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was looking forward to collaborate and strengthen the Early Warning value chain.

The Netherlands now join SOFF’s initial nine funders Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, USA and the Nordic Development Fund and increase SOFF’s funding to USD 65 million.

SOFF Readiness phase funding requests approved

The Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa are areas with significant data gaps, as shows the WMO Global Basic Observing Network (GBON) Global Gap Analysis of January 2022. The situation is dire in these countries. Many of the 26 countries are missing nearly 100% of their GBON required surface stations, and the large majority are missing 100% of the required upper air stations or radiosondes – the most important observations for weather forecasting.

Over the next months these countries, with the support of advanced meteorological offices and implementing entities, will develop the national GBON gap analysis and contribution plan as the analytical foundation for the implementation of SOFF. By the end of 2023, many of these countries are expected to be ready to move to the SOFF investment phase.


Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF)SOFF is a UN vertical fund co-created by WMO, UNDP and UNEP to close the climate and weather observations data gap in countries with the most severe shortfalls in observations, prioritizing LDCs and SIDS. SOFF provides long term financial and technical assistance to support the acquisition and international sharing of basic weather and climate observations, according to the internationally agreed GBON regulations. SOFF is a foundational element and delivery vehicle of the UN Early Warnings for All Initiative. SOFF Steering Committee members and partners are working on intense fundraising efforts to ensure rapid GBON implementation in all the countries with the largest capacity constraints.

Global Basic Observing Network (GBON). GBON paves the way for a radical overhaul of the international exchange of observational data, which underpin all weather, climate and water services and products. GBON sets the requirements for the aduisition and exchange of basic surface-based observing network designed, defined and monitored at the global level. Once implemented, GBON will improve the availability of the most essential surface-based data, which will have a direct positive impact on the quality of weather forecasts, thus helping improve the safety and well-being of citizens throughout the world.

SOFF Steering Committee: It is the decision-making body of SOFF. It consists of Funders, SOFF co-creators (WMO, UNDP, UNEP), beneficiary countries representation (AOSIS and LDC Climate Change) as well as CREWS. The Steering Committee provides strategic direction, considering the recommendations from the Advisory Board, reviews and adopts the SOFF work programme, as well as approves funding requests and the budget for the operation of the SOFF Secretariat.

The Decisions of the 4th SOFF Steering Committee meeting can be found here.

Approved Funding Requests can be found here.

Contact: Markus Repnik, Director of the SOFF Secretariat, mrepnik@wmo.int


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