Weather, Climate, Marine and Hydrological Services: SERCOM-3 Day 3

06 March 2024

The third day of SERCOM-3 saw the adoption of key decisions on weather, climate, marine and hydrological services for application areas such as disaster risk reduction and emergency management, agriculture and food security, health, water resources management, energy, and transport.

Discussions kicked off with approvals of key decisions and reports of the President and the chairpersons of the various SERCOM Standing Committees. It emerged that some topics require more time for in-depth discussion – e.g. contribution of SERCOM to the Early Warnings for All initiative and the role of WMO in providing authoritative, coordinated, and regular information on the El Nino/La Nina phenomenon - since such information is essential not only for Members but also for other United Nations and humanitarian agencies. 

A significant part of the day was dedicated to discussing the process for electing the next generation of SERCOM leadership: in an increasingly globalized and digital world, hybrid events are becoming common, allowing broader Members’ participation while reducing the carbon footprint. Consequently, the election modalities must evolve, requiring the organization to adapt to new circumstances. Delegates and the WMO Secretariat worked actively and constructively towards a solution, aiming to conclude the voting by the end of the SERCOM session. 

A recurring theme during the day was the vital role of regional structures such as Regional Associations, Tropical Cyclone Programme (TCP) regional bodies, regional training sessions and specialized regional centers in supporting Members to deliver timely and accurate services. These entities conduct essential technical work that complements SERCOM's efforts. The importance of robust two-way communication between SERCOM and the working groups and expert teams of Regional Associations was emphasized. 

A side event on the refocused Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) showcased its significant achievements since its inception in 2012, particularly in agriculture, disaster risk reduction, health, water resources management, and renewable energy. It emphasized SERCOM's role in advancing this work through its Standing Committees, supporting the global implementation of climate services beyond WMO. Notable developments include the establishment of a Joint Office between WMO and the World Health Organization (WHO), along with a comprehensive Health Sector Operational Framework for Climate Resilience and Low-Carbon Health Systems. 

SERCOM members agreed to invite all WMO Members to contribute to milestones outlined in the WMO Vision and Strategy for Hydrology and its Plan of Action. These milestones include updating various guides such as the Guide to Hydrological Practices and the Guide to Flood Forecasting and Early Warning, expanding the Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) and implementing a helpdesk for water resources management based on the successful model of the Associated Programme on Flood Management (APFM) and enhance the Dynamic Water Resources Assessment Tool (DWAT). A dedicated side event on strengthening Water Resources Assessment and Management delved into these tools and initiatives, highlighting how WMO initiatives and activities in this area support Members. 

New milestones were established in the field of cryosphere services, addressing the adaptation and mitigation of changes in polar and high-mountain regions. These milestones address services for the adaptation and mitigation of changes in polar and high-mountain regions and their downstream impacts, encompassing various sectors (disaster risk reduction, climate services, hydrology, agriculture, and transportation). Examples include pilot projects for regional mountain monitoring and warning centers and the integration of cryosphere-related hazards into multi-hazard early warning systems. 

Thanks to SERCOM experts, Members now have Business Continuity Management (BCM) Guidelines, which assist National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in maintaining operations during disasters or crises. While NMHSs are the primary audience, delegates acknowledged the need for resilience across all entities within the wider system. Finally, an important achievement of day 3 was the approval of the Guide to Marine Emergency Response (requested by SERCOM-2) which provides meteorologists with clarity on factors affecting Marine Emergency Response (MER) operations, aiding in marine environmental emergency response (MEER) and search and rescue (SAR) operations. 

Day 4 of SERCOM-3 will be dedicated to Gender Action Day, an opportunity to collaborate with WMO Members and partners to advance women’s leadership in disaster and climate risk reduction. 

For daily highlights, visit the SERCOM-3 dedicated webpage.


Approved documents: 

  • Doc. 2 Consideration of reports (Draft 2) 
  • Doc. 4.5(1) Draft guidance material for Business Continuity and Contingency Planning (Draft2/WiP) 
  • Doc. 4.5(3) Tropical cyclone forecasting competency frameworks (Draft 2) 
  • Doc. 4.6(1) Hydrological Services (Draft2) 
  • Doc. 4.6(2) Cryosphere-related Services (Draft 1) 
  • Doc. 4.7(1) Draft Guide Marine Emergency Response (MER) (Draft 1) 

Documents Work in Progress: 

  • Doc. 4.4(3) Establishment and functionalities of “WMO accredited entity supporting El Niño/La Niña Information" (Draft 3) 

Documents sent for Draft 3: 

  • Doc. 4.5(2) SERCOM priority activities in support of the Early Warnings for All initiative (Draft2)

*Documents will soon be accessible on the SERCOM-3 website.