Opening Remarks by Penehuro F. Lefale at FOCRAII

Scientific Officer- World Climate Applications
And CLIPS Programme (WCAC) Division
World Climate Programme (WCP) Department
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
To the First Session of the Forum on Regional Climate Monitoring
Assessment and Prediction for Asia (FOCRAII)
April 7-9, 2005, Beijing, China.
Dr. Xiaofeng Xu, Deputy Administrator of CMA,
Dr. Shourong Wang, Deputy Administrator of CMA,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure on behalf of the Secretary General of WMO to welcome you all to this First Session of the Forum on Regional Climate Monitoring, Assessment and Prediction for Asia (FOCRAII).
Let me begin by expressing our sincere thanks to the Government of the People’s Republic of China through you sir, Xiaofeng Xu, and your staff, other government institutions and ministries for inviting WMO to participate in this very important initiative.
This Forum is a very timely initiative as many countries in Asia and the world are currently involved in monitoring, preparing seasonal climate information and prediction services and assessing the risks and impacts associated with the current weak El Nino event.
For its part, WMO continues to give highest priority to the timely and effective implementation of its climate activities most relevant to this Region under its World Climate Programme (WCRP), including the World Climate Applications and Climate Information, and Prediction Services (CLIPS) programme (WCAC).
The WCP was established 25 years ago (May 1979), by the WMO Congress following the first World Climate Conference in February 1979 that set the stage for the development of the WCP. The WCP had four main components; the World Climate Data and Monitoring Programme, the World Climate Applications and Services Programme (both the responsibility of WMO), the World Climate Impact Assessment and Response Strategies Programme (managed by UNEP), and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), overseen initially by WMO and the International Council of Sciences (ICSU) and later in 1993 also by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
From its inception, the WCP concentrated on the practical aspects of climate data, prediction, research and fostering global understanding of the Earth’s complex climate system, its manifestations and changes over time. But understanding the climate system is not enough. The potential usefulness and applications to society of the climate information and prediction services originating from the work of WCP was also recognized as a high priority. This recognition led to the establishment of the CLIPS project, which is now part of the WCAC by the 12th session of the WMO Congress in June 1995. The WMO Congress also endorsed the inclusion of CLIPS in the WMO Fourth Long-term Plan for 1996-2005.
The main goal of CLIPS is to stimulate the use of sector-specific information, in an on-going, iterative process dialogue between the producers of climate information to the multitude of users in government, academia, private industry, the media and the general public. This is to be achieved through the development and building the capacity of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to take advantage of the advances in the science of climate and pass on the benefits of the improved climate information and prediction services to the user community. Forum such as this one is part of on-going efforts by WMO, in collaboration with its members, in this case, CMA, and collaborating partners, to meet the goals and objectives of WCAC, including CLIPS, under Thrust 2 of the inter-agency Climate Agenda framework- Climate Services for Sustainable Development.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We are deeply grateful to the sponsors of this Forum, the Beijing Climate Center (BCC) of Chinese Meteorological Administration (CMA), the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China for hosting this Forum.
In closing, I would like to assure you WMO will continue to support such Regional Climate Forum Initiatives- to ensure their continuity and sustainability under the Climate Agenda Framework.
I wish you all a successful Forum
Thank you.