SOFF at the Nineteenth World Meteorological Congress

Geneva, 5 June 2023. At the Nineteenth World Meteorological Congress, 193 Members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), met to decide on WMO’s strategy and priorities until 2030. 

  • UN Early Warnings for All initiative officially becomes WMO’s top priority, with SOFF as delivery vehicle.
  • SOFF already supports 40 countries with funds for 26 countries disbursed.
  • SOFF requested to explore opportunities to support Middle Income Countries.

SOFF update to Congress summarizes fast-paced progress

Since the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) became operational in July 2022, only eight months after the World Meteorological Congress endorsed its establishment, SOFF has been rapidly providing support to beneficiary countries to close the basic weather and climate data gaps: work is ongoing in 26 countries, funding requests for additional 14 countries are being prepared, and 22 more countries are expected to benefit from SOFF by end-June.  

As a UN fund, SOFF brings together more than 65 partner institutions under one umbrella for systematic, standardized and fully coordinated support to beneficiary countries to achieve compliance with the Global Basic Observing Network (GBON). Ten initial funders – Austria, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Nordic Development Fund, Norway, Spain, and United States of America – have pledged USD 65 million so far.

Early Warnings for All officially becomes WMO’s top priority 

Congress recognized the UN Secretary General’s Early Warnings for All (EW4All) initiative as the top priority of WMO (Decision Document Cg-19-d03-2(1)) The aim is to protect everyone on Earth with life-saving early warnings by the end of 2027. 

Congress emphasized that SOFF and the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS), should play a key financing and implementation role in the EW4All Executive Action Plan. SOFF is a foundational element and delivery vehicle of this initiative – warnings are only as good as the data they are built upon. The resolution invites funding agencies and development partners to contribute and align their practices with the UN objective. SOFF is aiming to secure at least five additional funding pledges by COP28 later this year. 

Congress requests SOFF to explore Middle Income Countries support 

The 193 WMO member states and territories decided to request the SOFF Steering Committee to explore opportunities to provide SOFF financial and technical support to Middle Income Countries in need while continue prioritizing Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. Additionally, the WMO Secretary-General was requested to call on bilateral and multilateral development partners for their cooperation and funding in closing GBON gaps. 

Contact: Markus Repnik, Director of the SOFF Secretariat,

Copyright Photo: World Meteorological Organization

The Nineteenth World Meteorological Congress: The Nineteenth World Meteorological Congress (Cg-19), the supreme body of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), was held from 22 May to 2 June 2023 at the International Conference Centre of Geneva (CICG), Geneva, Switzerland.  

The World Meteorological Congress is the general assembly of delegates representing all Members (States and Territories) that meets in ordinary sessions once every four years. 

Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF):  SOFF is a UN fund co-created by WMO, UNDP and UNEP to close the basic weather and climate observation data gap in countries with the most severe shortfalls in observations, prioritizing Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. SOFF provides long term financial and technical assistance to support the acquisition and international sharing of basic weather and climate observations, according to the internationally agreed GBON regulations. SOFF is a foundational element and delivery vehicle of the UN Early Warnings for All Initiative. SOFF Steering Committee members and partners are working on intense fundraising efforts to ensure rapid GBON implementation in countries with the largest capacity constraints. 

Global Basic Observing Network (GBON): GBON paves the way for a radical overhaul of the international exchange of observational data, which underpin all weather, climate and water services and products. GBON sets the requirements for the acquisition and exchange of basic surface-based observation data. The GBON observing network is designed, defined and monitored at the global level. Once implemented, GBON will improve the availability of the most essential surface-based data, which will have a direct positive impact on the quality of weather forecasts, thus helping improve the safety and well-being of citizens throughout the world.