WMO Services Commission meets on key priorities

04 March 2024

WMO’s Commission for Weather, Climate, Hydrological, Marine, and Related Environmental Services and Applications (SERCOM) meets.

WMO’s Commission for Weather, Climate, Hydrological, Marine, and Related Environmental Services and Applications (SERCOM) is meeting to discuss how to meet the rapidly increasing needs for services to support the international agenda on sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and climate action.

More than 200 technical experts joined the opening session on 4 March in Bali, Indonesia, with an additional 100 connected online. It is hosted by Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, BMKG.

Indonesian islands such as Bali are widely viewed as a tropical paradise, but also epitomize the challenges of interconnected hazards: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis, as well as floods, drought and wildfires. Indonesia is a world leader in multi-hazard early warning systems, said SERCOM President Ian Lisk.

“The UN Secretary-General’s Early Warnings for All initiative, which aims to protect every person on Earth by early warning systems by 2027, is clearly the priority of SERCOM and WMO as a whole,” said Mr Lisk.

“Climate action demands seamless collaboration, both within SERCOM and beyond, with a keen focus on the evolving needs of various service sectors and engagement with external stakeholders and UN bodies,” WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo said. 

“Public and private sector engagement is crucial in our ever-changing world,” she said.

The meeting takes place as record temperatures, accompanied by extreme events, grip much of the globe – an indicator of the rampant rate of climate change.

“Our planet is not in a good state – therefore, the people of this planet need the work of WMO … to save lives and livelihoods,” said BMKG head and Permanent Representative to WMO, Dwikorita Karnawati.

A woman strikes a ceremonial gong, while 3 other people applaud.
SERCOM-3 Opening Ceremony - From left to right: Head of Regional Agency for Disaster Management (BPBD) Province Bali as a Representatives Governor Of Bali, I Made Rentin; Head of Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency (BMKG), Professor Dwikorita Karnawati; SERCOM President, Ian Lisk; WMO Services Department Director, Johan Stander.
BMKG, Indonesia

SERCOM is one of WMO’s main technical commissions. Delegates this week will focus on how to best support the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction. 

Feeding into the overarching international agenda, there will be discussions on sectoral issues including health, agriculture, aviation, climate services, disaster risk reduction, hydrology, marine meteorology and oceanography, integrated energy, and urban services. 

A dedicated side event on the opening day discussed service delivery transformation in aeronautical meteorology over the next 10 years. This is being driven by ever-increasing air traffic, changing travel habits, new technologies and capabilities, updated regulations, more demand for cross-border/regional services (such as space weather or volcanic ash advisories) and the associated challenges in cost recovery. NMHSs must be proactive and anticipate problems before they occur, and to be prepared for change.

A second side event provided a deep-dive into Early Warnings for All to guide implementation at the country level. It focused on experiences from some of the initial 30 countries that are receiving targeted supported under the initiative,  including the Rapid Assessment undertaken to assess their hazard monitoring and forecasting capabilities. 

SERCOM will hold a dedicated Gender Action Day on 7 March.

SERCOM seeks to strengthen accurate, reliable, timely and useful services such as early warnings. This is based on the best possible data, infrastructure, models, expertise, and user engagement and feedback mechanisms, accompanied by viable partnerships, research, technology, innovation, capacity development and governance along the hydrometeorological value chain.

In addition to harnessing scientific and technological potential, the SERCOM session also highlights the importance of an integrated Earth systems approach, which also embraces nature-based solutions.

For instance, mangroves are prevalent in Bali. They serve as a natural barrier, filter and buffer – they mitigate storm surges and coastal erosion, support marine life, protect the ecological balance and water quality, secure coastal livelihoods and cultural heritage, and eventually contribute to climate and disaster resilience and sustainable development.

Details of the SERCOM session