Hydromet Gap Report launch: collaboration needed to ensure Early Warnings for All

Reykjavík, Iceland. The Hydromet Gap Report 2024 presents analysis based on Country Hydromet Diagnostics (CHD) conducted in 20 Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. It sheds light on the weakest links in the hydrometeorological value chain, which require urgent attention from governments and development partners.

CHDs are part of the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) support to countries, conducted by advanced national meteorological offices that serve as SOFF peer advisors and funded by SOFF. The Report is issued by the Alliance for Hydromet Development of which the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a founding member.

Countries need support

Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States are experiencing devastating impacts from increasing weather, water and climate-related extreme events. 60 have collaborated through SOFF with the Alliance for Hydromet Development to identify gaps in their operations and enabling environment, and the results of the first 20 countries are captured in the report. The national hydrometeorological services provide a basis for effective climate adaptation and resilience action. “While hydromet services play a foundational role for economic prosperity and resilient development, many countries, including Cabo Verde, face substantial challenges in delivering them,” explains H.E. José Ulisses Correia e Silva Prime Minister of Cabo Verde.

“People and our planet are facing a crisis due to the intersection of inequality and climate change. This Hydromet Gap Report 2024 shows us where assistance is most needed, where political support is paramount and where the Alliance for Hydromet Development partners should focus their efforts,” says Celeste Saulo, Secretary-General of WMO. The Report is launched during the 8th SOFF Steering Committee meeting in Reykjavík, Iceland. She adds, “The Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) is an innovative financing mechanism that supports countries with the most severe shortfalls in basic weather and climate observations.”

Gaps in Hydromet services affect SDG implementation

As the Hydromet Gap Report 2024 shows, hydrometeorological services present an under-recognized and cost-effective opportunity to turn commitments into actions and accelerate delivery across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ability to predict and prepare for changes in weather and climate allows societies to improve resilience and economic prosperity. Improved forecasts of extreme events, accompanied by the effective dissemination of information and appropriate response measures, can save lives and substantially reduce economic losses, both major goals of the Early Warnings for All Initiative.

The Hydromet Gap Report 2024 identifies a number of deficiencies that prevent the effective provision of high-quality weather, climate, hydrological, and related environmental services:

  • Weak observational infrastructure. All of the assessed National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) face gaps in coverage, with a large portion of inoperable stations, difficulties in maintenance, particularly of automatic weather stations, and frequent data quality issues.
  • Not collecting and sharing enough basic weather and climate data. The general trend is positive, but there are still large data gaps (GBON compliance), especially over Africa and the Pacific islands. Lack of training, technical resources and internet connectivity limit services quality and development. SOFF as a United Nations specialized climate fund has been created to tackle this issue.
  • Low data quality, availability and sharing. Data transmission represents a significant challenge. The majority of the 20 NMHS assessed do not have a centralized, automated data management system. Behind this gap stands a general lack of enabling information and communication technologies infrastructure.
  • Under-resourced and under-staffed NMHS. Not enough qualified personnel as well as financial resources exacerbate the gap.
  • Inadequate early warning systems and no impact-based forecasting. None of the NMHSs assessed fully implement impact-based forecasting. Other prevalent shortcomings involve the lack of standard alerting procedures, unavailability of alert services 24/7 and lack of integrated multi-hazard early warning systems. Impact-based forecasting provides the information needed to act before disasters to minimise the socio-economic costs of weather and climate hazards.

Supporting countries in closing the identified gaps are crucial to improve early warning systems, getting closer to achieving the UN Secretary-General’s and WMO’s priority of Early Warnings for All by 2027.

Recommendations

“The publication, which provides an accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive assessment of the state of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, identifies urgent climate-focused investments required by developing countries most affected by extreme weather patterns,” says Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group.

The Hydromet Gap Report identified the need for coordinated support from both government and development partners to:

  • Implement sustainable, context-responsive and cost-effective solutions, processes, and frameworks, including closing the information and communication technology gap
  • Promote the promulgation of appropriate legislation and build governance mechanisms for hydrometeorological and other MHEWS-relevant services
  • Foster close cross-sectoral and regional relationships among national stakeholders and service users
  • Build in-house expertise to produce tailored services, including through in-situ trainings
  • Support regional technical cooperation frameworks

In response to these findings and policy recommendations, the Alliance for Hydromet Development has outlined a set of priority actions, including the expansion of SOFF to other parts of the hydrometeorological value chain in support of the Early Warnings for All Initiative.

Participating Countries

  • Bhutan
  • Cabo Verde
  • Chad
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Guyana
  • Kiribati
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mozambique
  • Nauru
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Rwanda
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Sudan
  • Timor-Leste
  • United Republic of Tanzania
About
Hydromet Gap Report

The development and regular publication of the Hydromet Gap Report is one of the ten commitments outlined in the declaration of the Alliance for Hydromet Development, of which WMO is a founding member. The report monitors progress in closing the global capacity gap on weather, climate, hydrological and related environmental services. It also takes stock of progress on Alliance commitments.

Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF)

SOFF is a UN specialized 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 Least Developed Countries (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 Global Basic Observing Network (GBON) regulations. SOFF is a foundational element and delivery vehicle of the UN Early Warnings for All Initiative. The establishment of SOFF was the first priority of the Alliance for Hydromet Development.

Alliance for Hydromet Development

The Alliance brings together major international development, humanitarian and climate finance institutions, collectively committed to scale up and unite efforts to close the hydromet capacity gap by 2030. It aims to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of hydromet investments by forging a coordinated and collaborative partnership which recognizes and leverages the respective competencies and expertise of its members. Members are: Adaptation Fund (AF), African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Climate Investment Funds (CIF), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EB), Global Environment Facility (GEF), Green Climate Fund (GCF), Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Bank, World Food Programme (WFP) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

This story is published in parallel on the WMO website and the Alliance for Hydromet Development website.

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