WMO Regional Association VI advocating for the development of weather, water, and climate infrastructure and innovative partnerships

SDG 9 and SDG 17 are closely interlinked and essential for achieving sustainable development in the region and globally. The development of weather, water, and climate infrastructure and innovative partnerships are crucial for achieving these goals and addressing the challenges posed by climate change.  

SDG 9 aims to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. This goal is closely linked to the development of weather, water, and climate observation, monitoring, data collection, processing, exchange, and service delivery infrastructure. The development of such infrastructure is essential for supporting climate-resilient decision-making, sustainable development, and early warning systems for extreme weather events. Innovative partnerships can play a critical role in supporting the development of this infrastructure by facilitating knowledge-sharing and collaboration, leveraging private sector expertise and resources, mobilizing funding and financing, and supporting capacity building. 

SDG 17, on the other hand, focuses on strengthening partnerships for sustainable development. Partnerships are crucial for achieving the SDGs, including SDG 9, and can bring together different stakeholders with complementary skills and resources to tackle complex challenges. Partnerships can also help mobilize funding and financing for sustainable development and support capacity building and technology transfer. 

The need to address green and digital transitions jointly and the link that those two notions hold is of growing importance in the Europe and Central Asia region and became a defining characteristic to reach the 2030 Agenda. The UN75 Declaration and its subsequent Common Agenda deployed by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls on renewed efforts to improve digital cooperation and to protect the planet. Those two notions are brought together under the UN SG Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, which addresses Digital Environmental Sustainability. The Global Digital Compact, proposed under the Common Agenda and informed by the roadmap, will be agreed upon at the Summit of the Future in September 2024 which reviews the progress made on the UN75 Declaration.  

On the occasion of the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region, the regional offices for Europe of WMO and ITU co-organized a round table on “Partnerships for inclusive and sustainable digital development”. The event was held on 29 March 2023 in a hybrid format, in the WMO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and online via Zoom, with the support of the UNECE and the contributions of UNEP, UNIDO and UN Women. Dr Kornelia Radics, Director of the WMO Regional Office for Europe and Mr Jaroslaw Ponder, Head of the ITU Office for Europe welcomed the participants, who joined the event both in person and online via Zoom. 

Introductory remarks were delivered by Mr. Markus Reubi, Co-Chair of the 2023 RFSD for the UNECE Region, Mr Cosmas Zavazava, Director, ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau and Mr Filipe Domingos Freires Lúcio, Director, Member Services & Development Department of the World Meteorological Organization. 

The roundtable shared policy recommendations and actions to support an inclusive and green digital transformation. It looked at factors hindering internet connectivity access and use across communities and locations. It discussed the importance of robust digital infrastructure as a prerequisite for the successful uptake of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) solutions serving climate action.

Dr Roar Skålin, Director General of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and the RA VI Acting president, as well as Dr Umberto Modigliani, ECMWF Deputy Director of Forecasts, represented the WMO Regional Association VI. They shed light on digital solutions’ role in climate change mitigation and adaptation and reflected on partnerships and mechanisms needed to foster inclusive and sustainable digital development.  

The event was attended by a large number of high level participants representing the governments, as well as public, private and academic sector of the Member states.