Geneva (Switzerland) played host to the World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3) on 31 August–4 September 2009. The aim was to establish an international framework to guide the development of climate services which will link science-based climate predictions and information with climate-risk management and adaptation to climate variability and change throughout the world.
Today’s citizens are facing multi-faceted challenges of climate variability and change, which requires wise and well-informed decision-making at every level from households, communities, countries and regions, to international fora. Those decisions will require access to the best possible climate science and information and effective application of this information through climate services. As such, the overarching theme of WCC-3 was ‘Climate prediction and information for decision-making: focusing on scientific advances in seasonal to inter-annual timescales, taking into account multi-decadal prediction’.
Organised and hosted by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the Swiss Government, WCC-3 was based on the legacy of the two previous World Climate Conferences in 1979 and 1990. These events led to, or contributed to, key developments in global climate activities including the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Global Climate Observation System (GCOS) and the important support given to establishing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Directorate-General for Research, supported by the relevant other services, actively participated in the preparations of the WCC-3, also by granting a financial contribution to the conference. The Director-General for Research, José Manuel Silva Rodríguez, delivered his address to the plenary session on 4 September.
The purpose of the Expert Segment of WCC-3 was to engage a wide cross-section of climate scientists, expert providers of climate information and the users of climate information and services in a wide-ranging discussion on the essential elements of a new Global Framework for Climate Services for consideration by the High-level Segment of the Conference. The 200 speakers and 1 500 participants reviewed the various elements of the shared challenge facing the climate service providers and user communities and considered the needs and capabilities for applying climate information in key climate sensitive sectors, as well as its social economic benefits.
Among the key conclusions from the expert sessions was the agreement that current capabilities to provide effective climate services fall significantly short of meeting present and future needs and benefits, particularly in developing countries. Furthermore, there is an urgent need for much closer partnerships between climate service providers and users. As regards the necessary further scientific progress, major new and strengthened research efforts are required to increase the time range and skill of climate prediction through new research, observation and modelling initiative and to ensure the availability and quality control of climate data.
Based on the findings and recommendations from the expert segment of the conference, policy-makers taking part in the high-level segment agreed on a high-level declaration to guide the process for the development of the Global Framework for Climate Services.
The first step will be for the Secretary-General of the WMO to organise a meeting to endorse the composition of a taskforce of high-level advisors and to approve the terms of reference for the preparation of a report that sets out in detail the elements proposed by the Global Framework for Climate Services.
For further information on the event please visit the World Climate Conference-3 website. For each session, details on the speakers and their presentations can be obtained in the expert section of the WCC-3 website.