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 For use of the information medi a -                                   WMO-No.719
 Not an official record


Mauritius, 11 January 2005 (WMO) – Mr Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the
World Meteorological Organization (WMO), expressed the hope that the UN
international meeting which is being held in Mauritius from 10 to 14 January 2005,
to enhance the sustainable development of small island developing States (SIDS)
would focus on practical, cost effective and implementable measures such as the
strengthening of weather, climate and water monitoring and forecast systems,
including early warnings against natural hazards.

The vulnerability of SIDS has continued to grow and resilience to decrease. The
international community has the duty to support their development efforts. This was
spotlighted by the unprecedented tsunami at the end of the year that brought death and
destruction to the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean basin countries. At a press
conference given this morning (11 January) in Mauritius, Mr Jarraud noted that in
addition, as in previous years, tropical cyclones and associated floods devastated
several island States of the Caribbean as well the Pacific and Indian Oceans. As many
as 14 major tropical storms in the Caribbean during the latest hurricane season alone
have caused US$20 billion in economic losses, while rising sea level in the Pacific region
threaten to completely submerge the islands of Nauru, Maldives and Tuvalu.

In the view of Mr Jarraud, the current Meeting could agree on the need to develop an
appropriate early warning system for tsunamis for all regions at risk taking into account
current scientific knowledge and making use of existing infrastructure and expertise,
notably the WMO Global Telecommunications System and the National Meteorological
Services’ network. They could consider to build on and further strengthen the systems in
place in areas related to weather, climate and water such as monitoring and warning
systems for tropical cyclones in all the cyclone basins and the WMO World Hydrological
Cycle Observing System for water resources management. The Meeting could also
consider the reinforcement of existing systems for climate change monitoring and
assessment of its impact for sustainable development. Mr Jarraud will address the
Meeting in plenary session on 13 January.

WMO together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies (IFRC) is organizing today a parallel event on the theme of “Reducing
vulnerability and building resilience of SIDS”. Speakers will be: Mr Michel Jarraud,
Secretary-General of WMO; Mr Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); Dr Laura Kong, Director,
UNESCO/IOC International Tsunami Information Centre; Dr Bill Erb, Head IOC Office in
Australia; and Dr Raymond Forde, Member of the Governing Board of IFRC and
President of Barbados Red Cross. The event will be chaired by H.E. Dr Mohamed
Latheef, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations and Ambassador
of Maldives to the USA. It will take place from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. at Community Vilaj,
Freeport, Mauritius.

On the occasion of the current Meeting, WMO jointly with the Secretariat of the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is also organizing a side
event on “Reducing the vulnerability of SIDS to climate change and sea-level rise”.
Speakers will be: Mr Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of WMO, Ms. Joke Waller-
Hunter, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC Secretariat; Dr Renate Christ, Secretary,
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Dr Al Binger, University of West Indies,
Kingston, Jamaica and H.E. Mr Ashe, Ambassador Antigua and Barbuda to the United
Nations and Chairman of UN Commission on Sustainable Development. The event will
be chaired by H.E. Mr Enele Sopoaga, Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the
United Nations, Tuvalu. It will take place on Thursday 13 January from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m.
at Les Pailles Conference Centre, Port Louis.

WMO has produced an information kit on the sustainable development of SIDS,
containing a poster and brochure (24 pages) explaining the impact of weather-, climate
and water-related issues and the role of National Meteorological and Hydrological
Services in the sustainable development of SIDS.

WMO has also produced a new film about the impact of climate change on small islands.
Entitled The other side of paradise, the film, lasts 10 minutes 26 seconds and is
available in English and international version. The film can be obtained free of charge for
media purposes from the Communications and Public Affairs Office, WMO, Tel. +41 (0) 22 730 83 14. Fax +41 (0) 22 730 80 27. When requesting,
please specify the desired format and language, as well as your postal address.

WMO information for the current Meeting is posted at

           The World Meteorological Organization i s the United Nations S ystem’ s
                    Authoritative Voice on Weather, Climate and Water

For more information please contact:

Ms. Carine Richard-Van Maele, Chief, Communications and Public Affairs, WMO. Office tel: +41 (0) 22 730   8315,
Mobile +41 (0) 79 406 47 30, Fax: +41 (0) 22 730 8027. E-mail: cvanmaele@w

Mr Yunjie Zheng, Press Offic er, Communications and Public Affairs, WMO. Tel: +41 (0) 22 730 8168.
Fax: +41 (0) 22 730 8027. E-mail: , Website:

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