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High Level Taskforce Calls for Establishment of Global System for Climate Services

12 May 2011: The High Level Task Force on a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), which emerged from the World Climate Conference 3 of 2009, has released a report titled "Climate Knowledge for Action: A Global Framework for Climate Services - Empowering the Most Vulnerable." The report recommends the establishment of a global system to provide information to help manage climate risks and opportunities.

The report proposes an implementation strategy for a GFCS and estimates the costs of implementing the strategy would be US$75 million per year. The report addresses: climate information and predictions; observing systems and data exchange; research that supports climate services; capacity building; experience of climate sensitive sectors; needs of international policy; case studies of experiences at the national level; gaps and opportunities; implementing the GFCS; and governance arrangements.

It notes that the annual costs of weather-related disasters are almost US$100 billion, underscoring the need for scientifically-sound climate information. The report further underlines that: it is "unacceptable and unjust" that developing countries are particularly effected by climate; needs-based services are effective in helping manage risks; and climate services are weakest in places that need them the most.

The report calls for prioritization of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the water health and agriculture sectors. It describes the foundations for a GFCS, which exist under the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) current structure and networks. For example, weather and climate observing systems and data exchange, climate research programmes and risk management techniques are already coordinated under the WMO, but a framework to link and develop these elements is missing. The report was presented at the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, and its recommendations will be assessed at the XVI World Meteorological Congress taking place from 16 May-3 June 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland. [XVI World Meteorological Congress Website] [Publication: Climate Knowledge for Action: A Global Framework for Climate Services - Empowering the Most Vulnerable] [WMO Press Release]