Ambassador Bathsheba Crocker’s Remarks from the United States Reception for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) 19th Congress
May 30, 2023, Intercontinental Hotel
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, excellencies, and colleagues. It is wonderful to see you all here tonight. Thank you for spending some time with us during what has been an extremely busy WMO Congress. I also want to say a sincere thank you to our sponsors Tony Busalacchi of UCAR, Ashish Raval of Synoptic Data, Josh Campbell of Campbell Scientific, and the American Meteorological Society for putting on such a great reception for us.
Over the past week, we have heard the most recent climate reports from the WMO Secretariat and listened carefully to your interventions and national statements. The core message is unmistakable: your countries are already experiencing the effects of climate change, and it is imperative that we act quickly, decisively, and collectively to address it.
The United States recognizes the urgency of the climate crisis and is committed to partnering with the most vulnerable states to combat the devastating effects of climate change. Highlighting the U.S. commitment to advance adaptation efforts, President Biden has committed to working with Congress to allocate $3 billion for the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, called PREPARE. This is the largest U.S. commitment ever made to reduce climate impacts on the most at-risk countries around the world. As part of this commitment, USAID made an initial investment of $33 million to support implementation of early warning systems and will potentially invest up to $75 million towards increasing access to early warning systems for communities at risk of climate-induced disasters. Like you, we place great hope in the promise of the UN’s Early Warning for All Initiative. Early warning and early action are critical in saving lives and allowing communities to prepare for and reduce the risks of disasters before they happen. Too often have we witnessed the terrible loss of life and livelihood due to natural disasters in developing countries. Furthermore, to achieve early warning for all, we must consider the needs of people that are disproportionately affected, yet often face the greatest risks: women, youth, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and other marginalized groups. If successfully implemented, Early Warning For All would mark a watershed moment in humanity’s development. As heads of your national weather services and members of the WMO Secretariat, your leadership and expertise on this issue will be indispensable. You have a real opportunity to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people. I hope you will rise to the challenge of UN Secretary General Guterres and make Early Warning For All a key deliverable of the WMO’s next four years.
Finally, I want to commend the WMO and its staff for remaining resilient during the tremendous challenges of the past four years, and for undertaking reforms to make this organization more efficient and responsive to member states’ needs. But there is still much work left to be done. Let us make the most of the final days of the 19th Congress and continue to build a WMO that is transparent and accountable, gender-balanced, and truly inclusive of the Global South. I encourage you to take these thoughts into serious consideration as you vote for the future of WMO leadership later this week.
Let me just close by saying, even as we are clear-eyed about the threats and causes of climate change, let’s not lose sight of the potential of the WMO to make people’s lives better, now and in the future.
I’d now like to turn it over to Ken Graham, the Director of the United States National Weather Service. Thank you.