1.1 The Executive Council Working Group on Capacity Building (EC-CB) held its first formal session since establishment in the historic Croatian city of Dubrovnik from 18 to 20 March 2009. On this occasion, the meeting was held jointly with the Informal Planning Meeting (IPM) of the Voluntary Cooperation Programme (VCP) under the joint chairmanship of Mr Tyrone Sutherland (British Caribbean Territories for EC-CB) and Mr Steve Palmer (UK for IPM). The meeting was attended by nominated EC-CB Members or their representatives from the Cook Islands, Finland, Namibia, Republic of Korea and Spain, and IPM representatives of Australia; Canada; China, Croatia, France; Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Russian Federation, UK and USA and the Mission of Sudan to the UN. The full list of participants is given in Annex I.
1.2 Brief opening addresses were provided by:
Mr T. Sutherland, Chair EC Working Group on Capacity Building (EC-CB)
Mr S Palmer, Chair Informal Planning Meeting of VCP (IPM)
Ms Vlasta Tutis, Meteorological and Hydrological Service of Croatia on behalf of Mr Ivan Cacic, Director of Meteorological and Hydrological Service of Croatia and PR to the WMO
2. ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA 2.1. The Agenda agreed by the meeting is given in Annex II.
3. REPORT OF THE VCP 2008 VCP and VCP Coordinated Activities 2008
3.1. The Meeting was informed of the activities supported at the national level in developing and least developed countries under the Voluntary Cooperation Programme including through the VCP (F) and through activities coordinated through WMO VCP (ES).
3.2. The Meeting welcomed the information that in 2008, in addition to major regional development projects, support in the form of replacement, upgrading and extension of observing and communications infrastructure was provided through the VCP Programme through the various funding mechanisms, with some 20 countries receiving support through the VCP (F) (including short-term fellowships) while seven countries were supported under the VCP (ES) Mechanism. (Full details are provided in Annex III.)In terms of VCP (ES) and VCP (F), support provided amounted to some US $2.2 million equivalent. Additionally, ten Members made new cash contributions to the VCP Fund (VCP (F)), amounting to approximately US $272,748.
Bilateral Technical Cooperation Activities 2008
3.3. The meeting was also informed of a broad range of development assistance being provided through bilateral means by WMO Members to improve delivery of climate, weather and water services in developing country Member states including the efforts of Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, UK and USA (Annex IV). A wider range of countries were supported through bilateral arrangements with financing of some US $11.5 million equivalent value of support provided bringing total support to some US $13.4 million.1
3.4. Regarding bilateral reporting, there was discussion regarding the great variation in the nature and scope of reports making it difficult to obtain a full picture of Member’s activities or treat respective activities consistently. Additionally not all Members engaging in bilateral development cooperation are reporting. The group therefore recommended that the Secretariat develop a template for reporting on bilateral cooperation activities and also try to secure reporting from all Members engaged in cooperation activities in order to arrive at a true picture of inter-membership cooperation support within the WMO Community.
3.5. The RMO brought attention to the fact that the trend in VCP over the past five years through the VCP (F) and (ES) Programme indicates a fairly constant support of this VCP mechanism but that the overall trend in real value terms would however constitute a decline in use of VCP mechanisms to channel support to developing country Members. In this respect, it was stressed that the VCP (F) and VCP (ES) mechanisms provide very valuable and fairly immediate short-term support to countries to enable them to maintain operations while also moving towards the development of strategic plans for longer-term development (as described below). Members are urged that these mechanisms not be abandoned by donor Members but that Members continue and increase their support in these areas which are a necessary compliment to broader development activities.
4.1 The Secretariat provided an overview of the significant strategic work being undertaken by the WMO Resource Mobilization Office and the DRA in respect of regional programmes for capacity enhancement of NMHS in West Africa, South Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Pacific and the Americas in cooperation with WMO Members (Finland, Italy, Republic of Korea, Spain and USA) and with major partners such as World Bank, Rockefeller Foundation and UN system partners UNISDR, UNDP and others (Annex V).
4.2. A Case Study on the NMHS Development Project in South Eastern Europe is a multi-partner initiative supported by EU/WB/UNDP/WMO/UNICEF which was presented as means of illustrating the regional and strategic partnership approach being taken. An assessment of socioeconomic benefits has been carried out by the World Bank for this initiative, which could serve as a good example for other regions.