Governance Reform

Governance Reform

Established in 1950, WMO recognizes the need to continuously adapt to a rapidly changing world. The need for regular reform is being driven by environmental degradation, resource constraints, increased competition, technological advances, and other forces. The goal for WMO is to remain fit-for-purpose and to become more and more nimble and cost-effective.

Why reform?

WMO serves the interests of its Members. It seeks to support them in achieving their goals in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. In particular, WMO Members are committed to delivering high-quality weather, climate and water information and services that will assist decision-makers at all levels of society. These services contribute to the global agenda, notably the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, and the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Established in 1950, WMO recognizes the need to continuously adapt to a rapidly changing world. The need for regular reform is being driven by environmental degradation, resource constraints, increased competition, technological advances, and other forces. The goal for WMO is to remain fit-for-purpose and to become more and more nimble and cost-effective. The reform aims to coordinate systems of observation and data management, to standarize observations and measurements, to provide mechanisms for engaging with partners beyond the WMO community and to harmonize services for decision-making and socioeconomic benefits.

The potential benefits of the WMO reform process:

  • Earth system approach: meteorology, climatology, hydrology, oceanography, seismology, volcanology, air quality, greenhouse gases
  • Multi-hazard and impact based seamless services: weather, climate, water, aviation, marine, agriculture, urban, energy, health
  • Wide climate perspective: observations, services, science, mitigation and adaptation
  • Engagement of hydrological services in WMO activities and weather-water synergies
  • Organized and controlled engagement of private sector in WMO activities
  • Optimal use of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and Secretariat resources, thus providing more support for regional activities
WMO for the 21st Century

Overview of Reform Proposal

Governance Reform resolutions approved by Executive Council

In June 2018, the Seventieth Executive Council (EC-70) approved several resolutions by the EC Working Group on Strategic and Operational Planning (WG-SOP). The following standing bodies reporting to the Executive Counci were established (Resolution 35 (EC-70):

EC-70 recommended to Congress the establishment of the Science Advisory Panel (Annex 4 of Resolution 16.3(4)) reporting to Congress and Executive Council.

EC-70 further resolved that the need for, and the functions of, other bodies reporting to the Executive Council shall be reconsidered in light of the establishment of PAC and TCC; to continue consideration of the matter of number and the distribution of seats of the Executive Council, referred to the Council by the Congress, in the next financial period 2020-2023; and to to defer the implementation of this decision as for the PAC and the TCC to the seventy-first session of the Council.

Capacity Development

Regional Associations

Resolution 6 (Cg-18) decides to continue to review the current geographical scope of Regional Associations during the nineteenth financial period (2020-2023) with the aim of optimizing their efficiency and performance; to amend the General terms of reference of the Regional Associations (see below);  that Regional Association should meet as often as necessary, and the plenary session should continue to be organized following a 4-year cycle better aligned to support the WMO Congressional meeting and planning cycles and shall be more productive and useful for its Members, aimed at advancing regional priorities and producing clear action-oriented outcomes;  that Regional Associations should be encouraged to influence and fully align with the relevant structures of the technical commissions and with the strategic goals of the WMO Strategic Plan. Furthermore, pursuing harmonized structures among all regional associations would promote common approaches and better cross-regional cooperation.

Further the Resolution requests

  1. the Executive Council to oversee the continued review of the regional associations with the aim of making recommendations on their form and function to Congress-19, and to report on the implementation of this resolution at Congress-19
  2. the presidents of the regional associations, supported by the respective management groups, to lead a comprehensive review of the activities and working mechanisms of their associations and report to EC with recommendations for improved processes and mechanisms for enhanced regional and inter-regional cooperation and partnerships, resource mobilization and plans for resolving existing capacity gaps and deficiencies
  3. the presidents of the regional associations to coordinate with the presidents of technical commissions in nomination of experts by Members to ensure synergies with the respective regional bodies, better leverage the resources and communicate regional requirements, and to work with the other relevant bodies and the Secretariat towards establishing and operating an effective performance monitoring and evaluation process that will provide an objective assessment of attained capacity and performance of each Member and also highlight critical deficiencies to be addressed as a matter of urgency. In addition, they were requested to coordinate closely with the presidents of the technical commissions and the Secretariat in conveying regional priorities and requirements to be considered in the work of technical commissions, as well as carrying out scheduled performance monitoring and evaluation of the regional centres and facilities serving Members, and to strengthen their resource mobilization efforts with regional development agencies, as well as their advocacy role with Members’ governments with regard to the needed financial support to the NMHSs as the main providers of vital meteorological, climatological hydrological and other related environmental information and services

The Resolution invites Members to be proactive in their support and participation in the regional cooperation activities that build the individual and collective capacity to provide high quality services to the society, including through bilateral and multilateral agreements for cost-effective service delivery, sharing experience and transfer of knowledge and know-how. It requests the Secretary-General to take the required steps which will ensure adequate resources for effective operation of the Regional Associations during the nineteenth financial period.

New commissions and other bodies

Resolution 7 (Cg-18) establishes the following new commissions and bodies for the nineteenth financial period:

Two Commissions Research

The Resolution states that the fundamental working principle of the new commissions should be the inclusiveness of the weather, climate, water and other relevant environmental areas covered by the WMO constitutional purpose. It notes that, due to the multidisciplinary nature and increased work volume, the composition and working arrangements of the new commissions should be elaborated to ensure balanced representation of relevant disciplines, active and balanced regional engagement and gender considerations.

The two technical commissions are to commence their work as early as possible in accordance with the Transition Plan (Resolution 36 (EC-70)). The president of each new commission and their vice-presidents will be elected by Congress, from amongst current presidents and vice-presidents of technical commissions, as one-time measure aimed at expediting the transition to the new structure of the technical commissions. Upon completion of the transition period, existing technical commissions active during the eighteenth financial period are to disband, as follows:

  • Commission for Basic Systems (CBS)
  • Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation (CIMO)
  • Commission for Hydrology (CHy) (CHy-Ext Abridged Final Report, for a summary on the recommendations to Congress 18, see "Hydrology, in the WMO mandate" below)
  • Commission for Atmospheric Sciences (CAS)
  • Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM)
  • Commission for Agricultural Meteorology (CAgM)
  • Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM)
  • Commission for Climatology (CCl)

Message from WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas

Send us your Governance Reform questions.

Hydrology in the WMO mandate

WMO is uniquely positioned and recognized as the United Nations authoritative technical agency for weather, climate and operational hydrology. The expertise of WMO hydrological community supports Members in their efforts to develop solutions for water management, disaster risk reduction, agriculture, ecosystems management and restoration, navigation, hydropower and transboundary water management.

Joint WMO-IOC Collaborative Board

Based on the recommendations of the Joint WMO-IOC Consultation Group on the Reform of JCOMM (Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology) established by WMO Executive Council-70 and IOC EC-51 in June 2018, Congress 18, through Resolution 9 (Cg-18), and the 30th IOC Assembly, through Resolution XXX-2, established the Joint WMO-IOC Collaborative Board.

Terms of Reference

This restructuring of the Organization will enhance proactive regional engagement and capacity development. In our response to the growing global demand for weather, climate and water expertise, the reform provisions assure that no Member is left behind. Below are the Terms of Reference for the new entities that EC recommended to Congress as well as the amendments recommended to the Terms of Reference of Regional Associations.