New Delhi; The Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) a new finance mechanism to strengthen weather and climate observations has fully operationalised.
The Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) is a key building block for a new initiative spearheaded by United Nations Secretary-General General António Guterres to ensure that early warning services reach everyone in the next five years.
Heads of the three founding agencies, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP), ministers from donor countries, representatives of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and development partners met at the first SOFF Steering Committee meeting in Helsinki at the Finnish Meteorological Institute to open SOFF doors for business.
SOFF seeks to address the long-standing problem of missing weather and climate observations from Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.
In support of the Paris Agreement, it will strengthen the international response to climate change by filling the data gaps that limit our understanding of the climate.
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.
“As the climate crisis worsens, it is crucial that we boost the power of prediction for everyone so countries can reduce disaster risk. That is why we have launched an initiative to ensure that every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within the next five years” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres
“The Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) is an essential tool to achieve this. I thank all the countries that are providing initial funding to the SOFF UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund and urge others to do the same,” said Mr Guterres.
“Early warning systems are built on the foundation of weather observation data, but this foundation is patchy to non-existent in many in LDCs and African countries,” stated Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Just Transition.
“Today, less than 10 per cent of required basic weather and climate observations are available from Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries,” said Prof. Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General. “The world urgently needs this data and this is why SOFF will be a partnership of equals where everyone has a role and responsibilities.”
According the statemant, SOFF 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 are essential if the world community is to realize the 162 billion US dollars annually in socio-economic benefits of weather and climate prediction” it said.
WMO, UNDP and UNEP legally established SOFF last year at COP26 as a UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund.
“The first Steering Committee adopted the governance structure and programming criteria, as well as a preliminary work programme on how SOFF proposes to deliver support to beneficiary countries in terms of targets and planned allocation of resources for the first implementation period from July 2022 to June 2025” it said.
The objective of SOFF is to support Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and LDCs through the provision of grant financing and technical assistance for the sustained collection and international exchange of surface-based weather and climate observations.