SERCOM governance and collaboration with other WMO entities: SERCOM-3 Concluding Day

12 March 2024

At the culmination of the six-day SERCOM-3 session held in Bali, Indonesia, a multitude of strategic decisions and initiatives were endorsed marking a significant step forward in the global pursuit of enhanced meteorological, hydrological, and climate services.

SERCOM agreed on overarching principles for its subsidiary body leadership positions to achieve a balanced representation of WMO regions, Members, gender, and technical expertise. Coordination and collaboration with other WMO entities, such as the Commission for Observation, Infrastructure and Information Systems (INFCOM), the Research Board, and the Regional Associations (RAs, with their own Working Groups/Committees on Services, and respective Expert Teams) was re-defined and strengthened. 

Three SERCOM Study Groups (SGs) established to explore emerging service areas, namely the ones on Integrated Energy Services (SG-ENE), Integrated Health Services (SG-HEA) and Integrated Urban Services (SG-URB)), concluded their work and presented their impressive results. Most of their work will be integrated into the workplans of the existing SERCOM Standing Committees, while a new SG on Renewable Energy Transition (SG-RENE) was established replacing the SG-ENE. 

Technical discussions that started earlier during the week, continued and were concluded with the approval of several documents, including: 

  • Members recommended inviting the World Health Organization (WHO) and development and research partners to support and co-fund the Implementing Mechanisms for Health Science and Services, i.e. the implementation of the WMO-WHO 2023–2033 Implementation Plan for Integrated Health Science and Services endorsed by the last World Meteorological Congress in 2023. SERCOM further decided to develop an Extreme Heat Implementation Plan and explore the best way to establish Centres of Excellence for Climate and Health and a Climate and Health Fellowship Programme. Members were also encouraged to nominate health focal points to support all these activities. 
  • SERCOM will propose amendments to the WMO Technical Regulations, Volume I – General Meteorological Standards and Recommended Practices (WMO-No. 49) related to early warning services for consideration by the World Meteorological Congress, acknowledging the challenge posed by diverse national governance models. However, consensus was reached on the necessity of such regulation for the benefit of all Members, aligning with the Early Warnings for All initiative.
  • SERCOM recommended to the WMO Executive Council (EC) the adoption of additional drought indicators and indices for use by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs). A minimum set of drought indicators and indices is needed for Members to adequately monitor droughts and their associated impacts on agricultural, hydrological, urban and ecological sectors. Drought indicators and indices that include a component of evapotranspiration can improve drought monitoring and management, and the use of hydrological indicators is useful for the proper description of drought propagation in the hydrological cycle, which also enables the provision of sector-oriented warnings.
  • SERCOM recommended the establishment of a WMO consolidated El Niño/La Niña information mechanism to meet the growing demand for comprehensive, coordinated and frequently updated El Niño/La Niña information, not only from Members but also from UN agencies and the humanitarian community. The future WMO consolidated El Niño/La Niña information should be generated and delivered through an efficient operational mechanism and avoid duplication of functions of existing WMO WIPPS centers or the WMO Coordination Mechanism to support humanitarian agencies.
  • SERCOM noted a zero draft of the wider Implementation Plan for WMO’s contributions to the Early Warnings for All initiative, recognizing the need for an agile approach to implementation due to the initiative’s complexity and short timelines. This plan encompasses various activities under the SERCOM Work Programme, with ongoing consultation with Members and Regional Associations deemed crucial for successful implementation.

Considering that the responsibilities in hydrological modelling and forecasting activities cut across the Technical Commissions and other WMO entities, the HCP invited the two commissions to update the Guide to Hydrological Practice and collaborate to ensure coherence and consistency. 

SERCOM passed decisions to support proposed amendments to:

  • the WIPPS Manual on requirements regarding Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres (RSMCs) conducting Marine Emergency Response;
  • the WMO Integrated Processing and Prediction System (WIPPS) Manual on Tropical Cyclone parameters;
  • the WIPPS Manual on designation criteria and establishment of RSMCs for Global Numerical Storm Surge Prediction.

Following up on the Gender Action Day, which reiterated WMO’s goal of achieving gender equality and building resilience through the provision of gender-sensitive weather, hydrological, and climate services, the last day of SERCOM-3 included discussions on gender equity and agreed priority activities of SERCOM for the WMO Gender Action Plan for the 19th Financial Period. 

The six-day SERCOM session in Bali, Indonesia, has been a remarkable convergence of minds and missions. As stated by the Head of Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency (BMKG), Professor Dwikorita Karnawati:

Each session, each activity, was filled with a spirit of inquiry and a determination to forge ahead, despite the challenges we face as a global community.

While Gender Action Day underscored the imperative need to address climate change with a lens of equity and inclusivity, technical discussions showcased a collective resolve to make a tangible difference in the fields of weather, climate, hydrology, marine, and beyond. Amidst the global challenges posed by an increasingly changing climate, the conclusions drawn at SERCOM-3 will function as a guiding framework to pave the way for constructing a more secure and more resilient future for everyone. 

Approved documents: 

  • Doc. 1 Agenda and organizational matters 
  • Doc. 4.1 Process for the amendments to the Technical Regulations (WMO-No.49) to include Early Warning Systems (Draft 2) 
  • Doc. 4.2(1) Draft Implementation Plan on National Drought Early Warning Systems (Draft 2) 
  • Doc. 4.2(2) Drought Monitoring Indicators and Indices (Draft 2) 
  • Doc. 4.4(3) Establishment and functionalities of “WMO accredited entity supporting El Niño/La Niña Information (Draft 4) 
  • Doc. 4.5(2) SERCOM priority activities in support of the EW4All initiative (Draft3) 
  • Doc. 4.9 Implementing Mechanisms for Health (Draft 2) 
  • Doc. 5.2 Proposals for SERCOM Subsidiary bodies in the next intersessional period (including SCs, SGs and AGs reporting to SERCOM-MG) (Draft 2) 
  • Doc. 5.3 Composition of the SERCOM Management Group in the next intersessional period (Draft 2) 
  • Doc. 6 Overarching principles for the selection of experts 
  • Doc. 7(1) Advice from HCP and CDP 
  • Doc. 7(2) Coordination and collaboration with INFCOM 
  • Doc. 7(3) Coordination and collaboration with the Research Board 
  • Doc. 8 SERCOM Gender Action Plan 
  • Doc. 9 Review of previous resolutions and decisions of the Commission and evaluation of implementation of relevant actions 
  • Doc. 10 Election of SERCOM officers