SDGs, Contributions of WMO Community

SDGs, Contributions of WMO Community

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2015, serves as the centrepiece for national and international policymaking over the next 15 years. It sets out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the WMO community can contribute to at the national and international levels. WMO is the co-custodian of SDG 13 on Climate Action.

The 2030 Agenda stresses the importance of partnerships and international cooperation for achieving the SDGs – an enhanced and revitalized Global Partnership for Sustainable Development will facilitate this. The 2030 Agenda also invites governments to submit National Plans for addressing SDGs, and defines a Technical Facilitation Mechanism. The WMO community can make important contributions to the partnership, plans and mechanism, as well as to other collaborative forums.

National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) can benefit from the status of WMO as a Specialized Agency of the UN to engage with the 2030 Agenda. They can also draw on the partnerships that the WMO community continues to build with other communities, sectors and disciplines, for example, through national climate services and the GFCS. As policymakers and the general public gain a better understand of the WMO contribution to sustainable development, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services can look forward to establishing an even stronger role in protecting life and property, and in building weather and climate resilience.

Practical illustrations of how WMO contributes to the SDGs

Sustainable Development Goal 1

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. 

Virtually all of the Organization’s work on reducing disaster risk, advancing research and providing information and services for decision-making contributes to development and the elimination of poverty. While not always recognized as poverty-reduction measures, weather, climate and other WMO-related products and services provide many essential, and often measurable, socio-economic benefits.

Sustainable Development Goal 2

Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

Farmers, herders and fishers rely extensively on weather and climate services for anticipating and reducing risks, adapting crops, day-to-day and seasonal agrarian management, and maximizing productivity. Through their increasingly targeted services to the agricultural sector, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services are clearly central to ensuring global food security. The WMO Roving Seminars on Weather, Climate and Farmers, for example, assist farmers to apply the best available weather and climate information to their operational decisions.


Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. 

The appearance of mosquitoes, ticks and other insects that transmit many illnesses is frequently influenced by weather, climate and water. Deaths and injuries also result from floods, droughts, heatwaves and air pollution. The forecasts and advice that National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other service providers deliver to health agencies and to the public help to save lives. The WMO/WHO Atlas of Health and Climate defines the key risks that climate poses to public health in particular countries and regions and confirms the value of climate services for addressing these risks. 

SDG Goal 5 GenderGoal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

WMO is committed to achieving gender equality and empowering girls and women. This is not just a matter of equity and justice. It is also essential to meeting the challenges of climate change, disaster risk reduction and sustainable development. Their talent, energy and skills must be fully unleashed to ensure rapid progress in science and operational services. This will enable men and women, together, to build weather and climate-resilient societies. 

Sustainable Development Goal 6

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Observations and information on the hydrological cycle, including wetlands, aquifers, lakes, reservoirs and rainfall, are vital for guiding sustainable water management. The data and analyses provided by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other service providers also help to ensure that drinking water is safe and that human activities do not pollute aquatic ecosystems. Their work is supported by the World Hydrological Cycle Observing System (WHYCOS), which is improving basic observations, strengthening international cooperation and promoting the free exchange of data in the field of hydrology.

Sustainable Development Goal 7

Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

The growth in market share by clean energy sources is facilitated by rainfall, sunshine and wind data and forecasts. Weather forecasts also help to protect energy infrastructure from hydrometeorological hazards. The Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) is promoting partnerships and projects for supporting energy-management decisions with weather and climate information.

Sustainable Development Goal 9

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. 

Severe weather can damage or destroy vulnerable infrastructure, resulting in both economic and human losses. National weather reports protect infrastructure and industry from natural hazards, while climate change scenarios provide guidance on the placement and climate-proofing of infrastructure in coastal and other climate-vulnerable areas. The WMO Severe Weather Forecast Demonstration Project has illustrated the long-term benefits to countries of investing in weather- and climate-resilient infrastructure.

Sustainable Development Goals 11

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. 

By helping planners to make cities more climate-resilient, national weather and climate services reduce deaths and injuries from hazards, empower the poor and vulnerable, and protect cultural and natural heritage sites. At the international level, WMO is responding to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 by facilitating work on multi-hazard early warning systems, impact-based warnings, and other tools for building weather and climate resilience.

Sustainable Development Goal 13

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

WMO is the co-custodian of Goal 13 on climate action. The WMO community's challenge is to provide decision-makers with the scientific facts and analyses they need to adapt to climate change impacts and build climate resilience. WMO is firmly committed to supporting the Paris Agreement on climate change and to help guide valuable emission-reduction actions as per "nationally determined contributions." In addition to hosting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the World Climate Research Programme and the Global Climate Observing System, WMO is promoting international action and cooperation on climate change by establishing Regional Climate Centres and Regional Climate Outlook Forums.

Sustainable Development Goal 14

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. 

WMO, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other national entities support international efforts to monitor ocean temperatures, currents, salinity, acidification and surface levels – all major drivers of weather and climate. They also support coastal management and resilience, particularly for Small Island Developing States and other vulnerable regions. As the oceans continue to warm and sea levels to rise, the need for observations, research and operational services for the oceans will continue to grow. Activities such as the Coastal Inundation Demonstration Project will become increasingly important.

Sustainable Development Goal 15

Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

National Meteorological and Hydrological Services monitor the hydrology that shapes the health of freshwater ecosystems, forests and dryland areas. They provide essential data and forecasts that support efforts to combat desertification and restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by drought and floods. The WMO community is also collaborating through the Integrated Drought Management Project and other activities to assist governments to develop proactive and integrated national drought-management policies.

Sustainable Development Goal 17

Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

One of the WMO strategic priorities for 2016 – 2019 is to strengthen capacity development in order to enhance the capability of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to fulfil their mandates for providing operational weather, climate and water services. WMO also collaborates with UN agencies and other partners to promote the SDGs, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the GFCS and other multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Climate Indicators and the Sustainable Development Goals

Climate change is an increasingly recognized global threat. But what risks does it pose exactly? And how will climate change and its impacts affect sustainable development? The complexity of the global climate system often contributes to significant gaps between scientific and policy-oriented understandings of how climate change-related risks cascade through environmental, social and economic systems.