Strengthening weather and climate observations: A foundational global public good

The new edition of the ‘Financing the United Nations Development System’ report looks at how the quality of funding channelled through the UN development system can be improved In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It calls on all stakeholders to ‘meet the moment’ through smart investments and financing for sustainable development, prevention and emergency preparedness, while at the same time managing the COVID-19 pandemic. More integrated approaches and investments in global public goods that go beyond what individual states or agencies can achieve are urgently needed. 

The report puts emphasis on the need to find innovative ways to make critical global public goods available to everyone, everywhere. This includes goods with cross-border effects, such as long-term climate predictions.

The Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) is showcased as an innovative financing mechanism designed to provide a foundational global public good: basic weather and climate observations. SOFF aims to address a neglected challenge: improving access to high-quality weather data. The report suggests that this new financing mechanism could open the door to longer-term global public good financing opportunities.  

“Weather and climate prediction generates many benefits locally, nationally, regionally and globally. Short-to medium-term weather forecasts are essential for agriculture, water supply, energy (especially wind and solar), transportation, construction and tourism, and are critical for early warnings and disaster risk management.

“According to a conservative estimate cited in a recent World Bank publication, weather prediction services potentially produce annual global benefits worth US$ 162 billion.1 Long-term climate analysis and prediction are essential for climate mitigation, and even more so for climate adaptation – you cannot adapt if you do not know what you are adapting to,” write the authors.

Details here