New financing mechanism to boost global response to climate change

A new United Nations Coalition Fund would be launched at the upcoming COP26 to significantly improve the collection of essential weather and climate data and boost the international response to climate change.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) are to announce at the COP26 this new Fund. Starting October 31, world leaders are meeting at the COP26, the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held at Glasgow, UK.

There are data gaps that undermine the understanding of past and current climate, as well as the capacity to predict and project future climate scenarios. This, in turn, weakens international efforts to prepare for and respond to extreme weather events such as floods, hurricanes and drought.

The Systematic Observations Finance Facility (the SOFF) will plug this data gaps, a release from WMO said.

To respond to the explosive growth in the demand for weather and climate data to support essential services needed by all sectors of society, last week 193 member countries and territories of the World Meteorological Congress approved an integrated package including a Unified Data Policy, the Global Basic Observing Network (GBON), and the SOFF, to dramatically strengthen the world’s weather and climate services.

“If you don’t have observations, then you are not able to provide good forecasts,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

He said there are major data gaps in our observing systems in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific islands and some parts of Latin America. Those countries are not able to provide high quality early warning services because they don’t have enough input data for the forecast models.

“Over the next ten years, the SOFF will build capacity in 75 Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries to enable them to generate and exchange essential weather and climate data, in compliance with internationally agreed standards of GBON,” the release said.

The SOFF will have a life-saving impact in the most vulnerable countries to climate change, where decades of progress can be wiped out by a single extreme event. However, the benefits of SOFF will be felt everywhere; countries across the globe will have access to improved weather forecasts and climate services at a critical time when the impact of climate change is intensifying everywhere.

According to Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP, “Extreme weather and climate events are now increasing in frequency, intensity and severity as a result of climate change. Vulnerable communities are amongst the hardest hit. To help address this, they need access to the very best of technology to adapt to the effects of climate change and reduce risk.”

Weather and climate observations enabled by the SOFF are essential if the world community is to realize fully the 162 billion US dollars annually in socio-economic benefits of weather and climate prediction.

Recognising the value of the SOFF, countries are already giving indications of financial contribution. These will be unveiled at the event in Glasgow on November 3.

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