176 An Overview of The World Meteorological Organization Education and Training Programme

Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Jeff Wilson, WMO, Geneve, Switzerland

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) is the authorative United Nations technical agency for weather, water and climate issues, particularly for operational matters. WMO represents 189 UN Member countries and is supported by a small secretariat located in Geneva, Switzerland. One of WMO's ten cross cutting progammes is the Education and Training Programme. This paper will explore the role of the WMO Education and Training Programme (http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/dra/etrp.php), highlighting areas of strength and opportunities for working with partners to provide more support to WMO Member countries.

The WMO Education and Training Programme has four key areas of interest - Setting the WMO (global) standards for education and training in meteorology, climatology and hydrology - Support for training activities related to the WMO programmes - Capacity development of staff from the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) of WMO Member countries - Support for school and popular education Whilst the Education and Training Programme supports all 189 WMO Members there is a particular focus on supporting the NMHS staff from developing and least developed countries, small island developing states and land locked developing countries.

In 2011 the 16th WMO Congress (the supreme decision making body within WMO) updated the definition for a Meteorologist and the basic instruction package containing the learning outcomes to support the updated definition. The new Standard, http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/dra/etrp/training_publications.php, comes into force on 1 December 2013. From this date graduates from university and other courses wishing to join National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) will need to demonstrate that the courses they have completed do meet and in many cases exceed these new minimum standards. The 16th Congress also supported the development of competencies in the operational areas of meteorology, climatology and hydrology thus providing new educational standards and the development of job specific competencies to assist in the education and training of NMHS staff.

Training activities within the Education and Training Programme cover a wide spectrum of areas from: support to research activities; use of output from advanced Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models for severe weather forecasting, disaster risk reduction activities and support for specific service sectors such as the energy and transport sectors; use of satellite, radar and NWP data and products in general forecasting; improving the management capabilities of senior staff in the NMHSs of developing and least developed countries; to supporting the personnel from NMHSs working in a training role. Whilst many of the courses are typically one-off face-to-face training events there is a growing use of Distance Learning and resources such as the COMET MetEd resources to address the huge demand for education and training within an extremely limited budget.

In addition to addressing some of the continuous professional development requirements of NMHS staff and management capabilities, in many of the developing and least developed countries there is a chronic shortage of qualified staff and even qualified candidates for staff. The Education and Training Programme runs a small fellowship scheme that cooperates with universities and training institutes in Europe, the United Kingdom, China, the Russian Federation, Africa and Central and South America to provide long term education and training for NMHS staff or prospective staff. At any one time this programme is supporting more than 100 fellows undertaking courses from six months to five years. New opportunities and partnerships are always being sought to increase the opportunities for staff from developing and least developed countries.

The School and Popular Education component of the Education and Training Programme is potentially one of the most important areas from a long term perspective but the smallest in terms of activities and resources due to the overwhelming needs in the other areas. The WMO support is primarily through empowering the NMHS's to engage with the educational and training authorities in their countries and with groups such as the GLOBE programme and in past years the AMS Weather Ocean and Climate conferences. Partnerships in this area are of interest to the Education and Training Programme, the WMO Public Weather Services Programme and also the Outreach group who have been using social media and activities such as a Youth corner to promote opportunities and challenges in weather, climate and water.

Like many other domains, meteorology is faced with the task of providing services to safeguard life and property and improve economic conditions at local, national, regional and global levels. To do this we need a workforce that has a solid educational basis, good technical skills, a service delivery ethic and adapts to the needs of the wider user communities. WMO is actively working with Member countries to meet these needs and looking for new partners, ideas and approaches to address the growing demands.

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