A new finance mechanism to strengthen weather and climate observations, improve early warnings to save lives, protect livelihoods and underpin climate adaptation for long-term resilience has opened its doors for business. Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) is a key building block for a new initiative spearheaded by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to ensure that early warning services cover everyone on Earth, within the next five years. SOFF seeks to address the long-standing problem of inadequate weather forecasting and climate services, especially in the least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). In support of the Paris Agreement on climate change, it will strengthen the international response to keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, “by filling the data gaps that limit our understanding of the climate”, according to a press release issued by the World Meteorological Organization, WMO. These gaps affect national agencies’ ability to predict and adapt to extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, and heatwaves, all of which are on the rise, in line with the warming climate. Heads of the three founding agencies, WMO, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), joined ministers from donor countries. It provides benefits not only to the most vulnerable countries but to all countries across the globe. The improved availability of weather and climate observations enabled by the SOFF is essential if the world community is to realize the 162 billion US dollars annually in socio-economic benefits of weather and climate prediction.
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