World Meteorological Organization’s new office for Asia and the South-West Pacific has started operations in Singapore. It will seek to improve coordination on hazards including extreme weather and air pollution and to strengthen meteorological services for rapidly evolving economic sectors such as air and marine transport.
WMO Regional Director for Asia-Pacific, Chung Kyu Park, relocated from WMO headquarters in Geneva to head the new office hosted by the Meteorological Service Singapore with effect from 1 September.
The move is part of a wider WMO strategy to strengthen its regional presence, to improve services to its Members and deepen relationships with development partners. The WMO Regional office for Africa will be moved to Addis Ababa in early 2019 to bolster activities on the African continent.
“The relocation of the Regional Offices will reinforce regional cooperation and coordination and underpin WMO’s capacity-development initiatives in support of sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation,” said Mary Power, WMO Director of Development and Regional Activities.
Many countries in the Asia-Pacific region are already feeling the impact of climate change, including more frequent heat-waves, more intense tropical storms, and coastal inundation resulting from sea level rise, threatening food, health and water security. They also are vulnerable to naturally occurring El Niño and La Niña events. Air pollution and trans-boundary haze, environmental degradation and water stress add to the challenges.
“Asia and the South-West Pacific is one of the world’s most dynamic economic regions and a booming transport hub, fostering an ever-increasing demand for reliable weather and climate services. The new office in Singapore will fine-tune WMO activities to the needs of stakeholders in the region,” said Mr Park.
Singapore was selected because of its central position relative to WMO Asia and Pacific Member states, flight connectivity and modern IT infrastructure. The existing WMO Offices for West Asia based in Bahrain and for the South-West Pacific in Samoa, will report to the team in Singapore as well as to WMO headquarters.
One of the immediate priorities of the office will be to prepare for the quadrennial session of the WMO Regional Association for Asia and the South-West Pacific taking place in Tonga in October.
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