Press Releases

    GA/SM/238
    OBV/204
    26 March 2001

     

    VOLUNTARY COOPERATION IS CORNERSTONE OF GLOBAL WEATHER FORECASTING, GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT SAYS IN MESSAGE ON WORLD METEOROLOGICAL DAY

    NEW YORK, 23 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of a statement issued today by General Assembly President Harri Holkeri (Finland) on the occasion of World Meteorological Day (23 March):

    Voluntary cooperation is the cornerstone of meteorological and hydrological information flow worldwide. Long before we uttered the word "globalization", the services of meteorological and hydrological observers and their networks were globalized. Voluntarism involves the voluntary cooperation of individuals and also of the 185 members of the World Meteorological Organization, which contribute to the global observation networks and programmes.

    The World Weather Watch (WWW) programme, now nearly 40 years old, is one significant fruit of this cooperation. It coordinates data collection, processing and dissemination of meteorological and oceanographic information delivered from every corner of the world. The magnitude of this voluntary effort is vast -- 10,000 land-based and 1,000 upper air observation stations, 7,300 ships, 900 buoys out at sea and 3,000 aircraft, for a total of over 15 million data characters, and 2,000 weather charts, collected, processed, and transmitted nearly in real time. We take weather forecasts for granted -- we rarely think about the immense global voluntary effort supporting these services. Yet they affect all sectors of life: agriculture, water-resources, civil aviation and maritime transport, tourism and many other areas in individual countries and regions.

    At a time of high technology and satellite communication, the voluntary "storm spotters", radio amateurs and rescue workers are still important –- they are on the spot when earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes hit. These people save lives and mitigate economic losses with their willingness to serve and to share.

    I should like to congratulate the World Meteorological Organization for a very timely theme of this World Meteorological Day. It shows how different sectors of society can work together in a mutually complementary manner, thus reinforcing the message of the International Year of Volunteers 2001.

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