Purpose, objectives and organization of the ERA Programme

Purpose, objectives and organization of the ERA Programme

Purpose and scope

Accidental or intentional (eg. war-induced) release of hazardous materials into the atmosphere and water bodies constitute a major threat to life and safety of mankind and can take on international or even global dimensions. The nature, occurrence, or dimension of such incidents are not foreseeable. Governments have, therefore, undertaken to develop and implement emergency plans to mitigate the disastrous impact of such incidents on population and economy. The national Meteorological and Hydrological Services advise the governments on the concentration of toxic or radioactive materials and their probable transportation in the atmosphere and water bodies.

The Emergency Response Activities (ERA) Programme assists NMHSs, other relevant agencies of Member countries and relevant international organizations to respond effectively to environmental emergencies with large-scale transboundary air pollution, caused in particular by major nuclear accidents, volcanic eruptions, chemical accidents, and land fires. This is carried out through the provision of specialized GDPS products by designated RSMCs, the development and implementation of procedures for the provision and exchange of specific observational data, and of related training support for users.  Activities related to nuclear accidents are based on the International Conventions on Early Notification and on Assistance, to which WMO is party along with other international organizations concerned under the overall coordination of the IAEA. The Programme serves the implementation of a strategy to assist NMHSs to contribute to Disaster Risk Reduction goals and to carryout effective work in collaboration with international partners.  


Main long-term objectives

The main long-term objectives of the Emergency Response Activities Programme are to develop and improve Members' capabilities to respond effectively to environmental emergencies with large-scale transboundary air pollution, in particular major nuclear incidents.  In addition, the same technological capabilities are evolving and have become applicable for increasingly localized applications including smoke from fires on a regional, sub-continental scale, to chemical spills and incidents on a more local scales.  It is desirable to coordinate and collaborate with other programmes of relevant international organizations to ensure programme effectiveness.


Programme Organization

The programme is carried out under the Standing Committee on Data Processing for Applied Earth System Modelling and Prediction (SC-ESMP)‎‎‎‎‎‎‎ as regards implementation co-ordination and support from the Commission for Observation, Infrastructure and Information Systems (INFCOM), and through effective co-ordination and collaboration with relevant UN and international agencies as well as Members. The programme is highly coupled with WMO's Global Data-Processing and Forecasting System (GDPFS), relying on atmospheric dispersion modelling tools that are highly integrated within operational NWP systems. Prompt response to unforeseeable emergency events is essential. The programme is achieved through regular exercises, expert meetings, workshops, consultant services, training events and international conferences,  collaboration with other international agencies, as well as inter-agency co-ordination activities.