The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) - Structure

The WMO is headed by a president and three vice-presidents, elected by the World Meteorological Congress. There is also an Executive Council and a secretariat.

World Meteorological Congress

The World Meteorological Congress is the supreme body of the organization and is composed of the delegates representing its member states and territories. (According to the World Meteorological Convention, the principal delegate of each member "should be the director of its meteorological service.") The congress, which meets every four years, determines changes in the constitution and functions of the various WMO bodies, adopts regulations covering meteorological practices and procedures, and determines general policies for carrying out the purposes of the organization and related matters. It also establishes the regional associations and technical commissions.

Each member of the congress has one vote. Election of individuals to serve in any capacity in the organization is by a simple majority of the votes cast; other questions are decided by twothirds of the votes cast for and against. On certain subjects, only members that are states may vote.

Executive Council

The Executive Council has 36 members: the president and the three vice-presidents of the WMO; the presidents of the six regional associations; and 26 directors of meteorological services from the member countries, elected by the congress. Meeting at least once a year, the council carries out the activities of the organization and the decisions of the congress. Its own decisions are reached by a two-thirds majority.

Regional Associations

There are six regional associations: one each for Africa, Asia, South America, North and Central America, the Southwest Pacific, and Europe. The regional associations are composed of the WMO members whose meteorological networks lie in or extend into the respective regions. They meet when necessary and examine from a regional point of view all questions referred to them by the Executive Council. Each association has the responsibility for coordinating meteorological activity.

Technical Commissions

The technical commissions are composed of experts in meteorology. They study various meteorological problems and make recommendations to the executive committee and the congress. The WMO has established eight commissions for the following areas: basic systems; instruments and methods of observation; atmospheric sciences; aeronautical meteorology; agricultural meteorology; marine meteorology; hydrology; and climatology. Each commission meets every four years.

Secretary-General and Secretariat

The secretariat, in Geneva, completes the structure of the WMO. Its staff, under the direction of a Secretary-General, undertakes studies, prepares publications, acts as secretariat during meetings of the various WMO bodies, and provides liaison between the various meteorological services of the world. The Secretary-General is G. O. P. Obasi of Nigeria. He is assisted by a staff of about 250.

User Contributions:

Stan Cornford
Report this comment as inappropriate
Mar 10, 2011 @ 5:05 am
There are four points:

1.Matter of fact: The Secretary-General is now M. Michel Jarraud of France. Professor Obasi is dead. (The next Congress is in June this year. Congresses elect and re-elect Secretaries-General of WMO. M. Jarraud has done/is doing a good job.)

2. I do not have a copy of the Convention, but I believe the following, whose text should be checked. (Do not just ask the Secretariat which always makes the mistake of saying that the Congress is the supreme body of the organization. This is true only from the Secretariat's point of view, and in routine day-to-day practice.) World Meteorological Congresses are meetings of nations to arrange their affairs so that each may provide a meteorological service; exchange of information across the world is fundamental to this process. A Congress may dissolve or establish an organization: one created WMO and one could dissolve it and create something new, for example. This has been theoretical since 1950 when WMO was formed within the UN structure. But is relevant to points 3 and 4.

3. Heads of delegations to Congresses are usually ambassadors of those countries which maintain embassies in Geneva, NOT AS IN YOUR TEXT, necessarily Directors of Meteorological Services. The Met. Services, of course, usually send a delegation headed by their Director. Usually, Ambassadors attend for the formal opening only.

4. It is WMO's Executive Council whose members must be the head of the National Meteorological Service. (Not all these days are called Director. The UK, for example has a Chief Executive, although the title seems to have changed rather often in recent years.)

Hope this helps.

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: