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    20 March 2015

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

    Message on World Meteorological Day

    23 March 2015

    VIENNA, 23 March (UN Information Service) - Extreme weather and changing climatic patterns are having a growing impact on our planet and on human well-being.  In the last three decades, floods, storm surges, droughts and wildfires have taken a huge toll in lives and caused massive economic losses.  The devastation caused by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and other parts of Oceania is just the latest example of how catastrophic weather extremes can be.

    Climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of these extremes and threatening water and food security in many parts of the world.  Mitigating climate change and adapting to it are among the great tests of our time.  To rise to these challenges, we will need timely, reliable information for decision-making and action, delivered to those who need it, in a form that is accessible and usable.

    Over the last twelve months, thousands of lives have been saved in India, the Philippines and elsewhere by improved weather forecasting, early-warning systems and evacuation plans.  Information products and services based on climate predictions can assist in strengthening climate resilience.  This is the aim of the Global Framework for Climate Services, initiated by the World Meteorological Organization with other United Nations partners to facilitate the use of climate information to reduce disaster risk, promote food and water security, and safeguard public health.

    Last week, Sendai, Japan, hosted the Third United Nations Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction -- the first milestone in a critical year of action on sustainable development.  In July, the world will gather in Addis Ababa to discuss financing for development.  Leaders will hold a summit in New York in September to adopt a new development agenda, including a set of sustainable development goals to guide us through 2030.  We aim to close out the year in Paris in December with a meaningful, universal climate agreement.

    Climate resilience is an important thread that runs through this year of decision-making on our future well-being.  On World Meteorological Day, I urge all actors in society to heed this central message.  Armed with knowledge, we can overcome the climate challenge and create safer, more prosperous societies for all.

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