Cablegate: Report of the Wmo Executive Council 57th Session

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




REFS: A) Geneva 1815 B) Geneva 1780

E.O. 12958: N/A


1. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) 57th
Executive Council (EC) Session was held June 21-July 1, 2005
in Geneva. The EC addressed a number of items including
continuing financial reform efforts, potential changes to
the WMO convention, program details, financial and
administrative matters, and a possible World Climate
Conference (WCC-3). Additional information on financial and
administrative matters and the WCC-3 is provided in REFTELs.
Overall, the EC session went smoothly and the outcomes were
aligned with US interests.

2. The EC decided to continue the Task Team to Explore and
Assess the Possible Changes to the WMO Convention and
charged it with further exploring benefits and risks
involved in advancing Convention amendments and other
options. The EC agreed to proceed with planning for a third
World Climate Conference (WCC-3) based specifically on the
overarching scientific theme of advances in seasonal to
interannual and possibly decadal forecasting. The decision
on holding the conference was deferred to next year.

3. The External Auditor gave an unqualified opinion for the
2004 account. The EC decided to audit WMO accounts on an
annual basis and approved the proposed Program and Budget of
CHF 126.630 million for the second biennium (2006-2007) of
the financial period. The EC agreed to close the fraud
investigation, but recommended the Audit Committee remain in
place supplemented by a Task Force to review its
recommendations. The US Perm Rep will remain on the Audit
Committee as well as the Financial Advisory Committee
(FINAC). The US Perm Rep was nominated a core member of a
new Ad Hoc Group to develop budget options for WMO financial
period 2008-2011.


4. US Permanent Representative to the WMO, Brigadier
General John J. Kelly, Jr. (USAF, ret) led the US delegation
to the 57th session of the Executive Council (EC-LVII),
Geneva, June 21-July 1, 2005. Gen Kelly also participated
in the FINAC, which met immediately prior to the session.
BGEN David L. Johnson (USAF, ret) was the alternate during
the session. They were assisted by advisors Charles Ashley
(DOS/US Mission Geneva), Maureen Wylie (NOAA), Kelly Turner
(NOAA), Robert Masters (NOAA-NWS), William Bolhofer (NOAA-
NWS), Chester Koblinsky (NOAA-OAR), D. Brent Smith (NOAA-
NESDIS), Harry Lins (USGS), James Purdom (Colorado State),
John Toohey-Morales (American Meteorological Society).

5. Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, (USN, ret), Deputy
Under Secretary and NOAA Adminstrator, provided a
presentation on the Group on Earth Observations System of
Systems (GEOSS) in his capacity as co-chair of the Group on
Earth Observations (GEO). The WMO recently established the
GEO Secretariat. While in Geneva, VADM Lautenbacher also
signed an agreement with the Russian hydrometeorological
service for cooperation under the US/Russian S&T Agreement.
Also, Dr. Michael Glantz, a US scientist with the National
Center for Atmosphere Research, was invited by the WMO to
present his views on the social perception of climate
issues. John Morales (AMS Commissioner) and popular
broadcast meteorologist for Telemundo (NBC) worked with the
WMO Secretariat conducting interviews and filming for later
broadcast in the US, Caribbean and Central American region.

6. With a view to streamlining the EC process, members
agreed to meet in plenary forgoing the traditional committee
A, B and C structure. This allowed documents with little
change to move directly to "approved." Provision was also
made for a half-day discussion on issues related to
hydrological security.

7. The EC approved the S-G proposal to appoint Mr. R.D.
Jerry Lengoasa (South Africa) as Assistant Secretary-General
effective August 8, 2005. The 58th session of the EC will
be conducted in Geneva, June 20-30, 2006.


8. This session of the EC was unprecedented for member
turnover. Three times during the session the members were
called upon to designate acting members as follows: Mr.
Mourad Shawky Saadallah to replace Mr. M. M. Arafa (Egypt),
Mr. Sanjiv Nair to replace Mr. S.K. Srivastav (India), Mr.
Massimo Capaldo to replace Mr. R. Sorani (Italy), Mr. John
Mitchell to replace Dr. D. Rodgers (United Kingdom), Mr.
Wolfgang Kusch to replace Mr. U. Gartner (Germany), Mr. D.
Francisco Cardarso Gonzalez to replace and Ms. M. Couchoud
Gregori (Spain). Mr. Woon Shih Lai (Singapore), President
of Regional Association V (RA V, Southwest-Pacific) and ex-
officio member of EC, announced his retirement during the
session. Mr. Arogna Ngari (Cook Islands) is now RA V acting
president and designated EC member. During the EC
intersession Mr. A. Ndiaye (Senegal) and Mr. E. Zarate
(Costa Rica) relinquished their EC positions. Mr, N.F.
Ouattara (Burkina Faso) and Mr. Paulo Manso (Costa Rica)
were elected acting EC members respectively through

9. The EC constituted two Working Groups, (1) Long-Term
Plan, and (2) Evolution of the National Meteorological and
Hydrological Service - the latter group a merging of the EC
Advisory Group on the Role and Operation of NMHS and the EC
Action Group for an Enhanced WMO. Advisory Groups on Data
Exchange, Climate and Environment, Disasters, and Technical
Cooperation were also reconstituted. Gen Jack Kelly was
designated a member of both the Disaster and Data Exchange
Advisory Groups.

--------------------------------------------- --
--------------------------------------------- --

10. The EC was informed of the thirteenth session WMO
Regional Association II (Asia), Hong Kong, China, December 7-
15, 2004. The association elected Mr. A. Majeed H. Isa
(Bahrain) as President and Dr. C. Y. Lam (Hong Kong) as Vice
President. WMO Regional Association IV (North America,
Central America, and the Caribbean) conducted its fourteenth
session in San Jose, Costa Rica, April 5-13, 2005. The
association elected Mr. Carlos Fuller (Belize) as President
and Mr. Paul Manso (Costa Rica) as Vice President. The
Council was informed of an agreement between WMO and the
Kingdom of Bahrain to establish a WMO Sub-regional Office
for Asia in Manama.

11. The Council was informed of two commission sessions.
The twelfth session of the Commission for Hydrology met in
Geneva, October 20-29, 2004. The commission elected Mr.
Bruce Stewart (Australia) as president and Mr. J. Wellens-
Mensah (Ghana) as vice president. The thirteenth session of
the Commission for Basic Systems (CBS) took place in St
Petersburg, Russia, February 23-March 3, 2005. The
Commission elected Dr. Alex Gusev (Russia) as President and
Mr. Gerhard Hoffman (Germany) as Vice President.


12. EC-LVI established an Audit Committee to review issues
associated with WMO's fraud case and provide reform guidance
to the Secretariat. The Committee, chaired by Mr. Udo
Gartner (Germany), met three times during the intersessional
period, including just prior to EC-LVII. The EC-LVII
approved a resolution (EC-LVII Res. 4.1/x) to continue the
Audit Committee with the next meeting scheduled October 24-
25, 2005, Geneva. The Committee will be comprised of six EC
members including Gen Kelly and three external financial
experts. WMO Secretariat representation at the Committee
meetings is only at the invitation of the chairperson. The
EC also approved a resolution (EC-LVII Res. 4.1/xx) creating
a Task Force on Recommendations Emanating from the Audit

13. The Committee was informed of progress on the fraud
investigation by the WMO's Internal Auditor and
Investigative Service (IAIS). A voluminous report completed
in April 2005 by the IAIS did little to further illuminate
the known basic facts of the case. Approximately US$3.4
million was diverted during the 13th financial period (1999-
2003) primarily in the training and fellowship area. The
principal conspirator fled Switzerland. The Swiss
authorities have an ongoing investigation. The IAIS
investigation implicated several other WMO Secretariat staff
who exhibited professional shortcomings; they have since
been disciplined or left the Organization. The Committee
recommended closing the investigation after considering the
time and effort required to continue the investigation and
the unlikelihood of finding additional significant knowledge
pertinent to the fraud.

14. The Audit Committee was apprised of the implementation
of the Secretariat's Action Plan on Management Reform. The
Reform Plan was developed in response to the fraud case to
prevent additional financial irregularities. The Plan
focuses on improving three areas of WMO operations: 1)
integrity - establishing an internal control system
particularly as it relates to moving financial resources; 2)
transparency - providing key information for decision-making
to Members and management on activities, finance, budget and
staffing; and, 3) efficiency - reducing administrative costs
and time requirements for decisions through various process
simplification mechanisms.

15. The Secretariat plans to have most aspects of the
Reform Plan implemented by December 2005. The S-G has
instituted staff training to develop a culture of
responsibility and accountability throughout the Secretariat
ranks. The EC recommended the WMO adopt the UN Standards of
Conduct for the International Civil Service as an interim
measure to the WMO's development of a more comprehensive
Code of Ethics. Based on the Audit Committee's
recommendation, the EC requested the S-G to strengthen the
internal audit service and to examine options for
outsourcing some or all of the internal audit service


16. The 24th session of the Financial Advisory Committee
(FINAC) met on June 20, 2005 to review the Report of the
External Auditor and the Program and Budget for the second
biennium of the 14th Financial Period. FINAC members were
introduced to the new Financial Statement format reflecting
the Secretariat's effort to enhance budget transparency.
All funds are now reflected as Swiss francs (CHF), which is
WMO's reporting currency. The proposed biennium (2006-2007)
budget of CHF 126.63 million included expected results and
performance indicators for each WMO program.

17. The National Audit Office of the United Kingdom, WMO's
External Auditor, issued an unqualified opinion of the
organization's accounts for the year 2004 with expenditures
of CHF 59.872 million for that year. The External Audit
report showed a cash surplus of CHF 18.6 million at the end
of the year (December 31, 2004). This included CHF13.0
million carry over from the 13th financial period plus CHF
5.6 million from 2004. The EC accepted the Audit
Committee's recommendation to have WMO financial statements
audited on an annual basis commencing with 2005. The EC-
LVIII will consider an appropriate amendment to the
Financial Regulations to reflect this change. In variance
to previous practice, the WMO signed a Letter of
Understanding on October 28, 2004 with the External Auditor
specifying responsibilities of each Party.

18. The EC approved the program and budget for the second
biennium 2006-2007 of the financial period amounting to CHF
126.630 million. The World Weather Watch Program (WWWP) and
World Climate Program (WCP) received CHF 11.531 million and
CHF 12.517 million, respectively. The Education and
Training, Technical Cooperation, and Regional Programs -
representing WMO's effort to develop capacity in the Least
Developed Countries (LDC) - received a combined CHF 18.360
million. Linguistic, Publication and Conference Services
received the largest proportion of the budget at CHF 21.327
million. The WMO Space Program was allocated CHF 2.067
million. The EC also approved FINAC's recommendation to
allocate CHF 5.477 million cash surplus from the 13th
financial period for WMO-proposed high priority activities.
The Fourteenth Congress had agreed to suspend Financial
Regulation 9.1 (Res. 30; Cg-XIV) during the 14th financial
period with respect to the distribution of cash surpluses
from the 13th financial period.

19. The S-G presented to the session a Program and Budget
for the fifteenth financial period (2008-2011) on the basis
of zero real growth (ZRG) in the amount of CHF 262.0
million. Gen Jack Kelly and other EC members expressed
reservations about the ZRG proposal. An Ad Hoc Group was
established (EC-LVII, Res.6/1) to consider both a zero
nominal growth (ZNG) and ZRG program and budget options.
The Group is co-chaired by Mr. Gartner (Germany) and Mr.
Chow Kok Kee (Malaysia); Gen Jack Kelly was nominated a core
member. The Group is expected to have its first meeting
October 26-27, 2005.


20. The World Weather Watch report by Mr. G. Hoffman, CBS
President, covered the discontinuation of the Vaisala RS-80
and RS-90 radiosonde systems. Mr. Schiessel, Director of
WWWP, provided EC members with a presentation on the "Impact
of the replacement of radiosonde systems on the Global Upper
Air network." The presentation included an analysis by
Vaisala and results from the WMO Secretariat's own analysis.
Vaisala has worked out contractual arrangements with a
number of affected sites; they were eliminated from the
final analysis. The Secretariat then eliminated from the
survey those sites that had been silent for a five-year
period. The final analysis resulted in eleven affected
sites that were globally distributed. Half these sites will
require an entire system replacement while the remainder
requires software modifications.

21. Gen Kelly, at the request of US-based International Met
Systems (InterMet), brought to the Secretary-General's
attention a letter dated 29 April 2005, which gave the
appearance of a WMO bias for Vaisala's RS-92 replacement
system. The S-G issued a clarification letter to all WMO
Members on July 8, 2005. It was mentioned during EC
discussions the InterMet ground station could work with a
number of different sondes and thus be manufacturer
independent resulting in a long-term cost savings to
operators. The WMO Commission for Instruments and Methods
of Observations had tested and approved the InterMet ground


22. The single polarizing issue discussed was the EC
Advisory Group on Climate and Environment Ad Hoc Exploratory
Committee meeting (May 2005) to scope out a Third World
Climate Conference (WCC-3). The U.S. had previously and in
other fora voiced its opposition to a WCC-3 citing a lack of
demonstrated need as well as substantial costs to
undertaking the Conference. However, in a tacit
understanding worked out at the Ad Hoc meeting, it was
agreed that planning for a Conference could proceed based
specifically on the overarching scientific theme of advances
in seasonal to interannual and possibly decadal forecasting.
Any such Conference would take place at the earliest during
the WMO's 15th financial period.

23. The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) was
recognized by the EC as an important contributor to the
climate societal benefit area of the GEOSS plan. The GCOS
secretariat with assistance from the U.S. and other

countries completed its Implementation Plan, which was
endorsed by the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, Buenos
Aires, December 2004. The EC advanced Resolution 3.2.3/1
(EC-LVII) endorsing GCOS activities and requesting GCOS to
collaborate its Implementation Plan with that of GEO, SBSTA
and the UNFCCC-COP. Dr. David Goodrich (formerly with NOAA)
assumed the GCOS Director position in June 2005.


24. The EC reviewed activities associated with the Global
Atmospheric Watch (GAW) particularly in the development of
better urban environment forecast capabilities as
demonstrated by GAW's Urban Research and Environment Project
(GURME). It noted a recent report from the Integrated
Global Atmospheric Chemistry Observations (IGACO) group the
need for better vertical resolution of atmosphere chemistry
in the lower troposphere, which could be satisfied by the
GAW network. The EC requested the S-G to create a dedicated
IGACO office within the Secretariat using extrabudgetary
resources to coordinate chemistry observations from space to
surface-based observing platforms.

25. The EC endorsed the THORPEX International Research
Implementation Plan for 2005-2014, the established
management mechanism and the organizational structure
instituted by the Commission for Atmosphere Science (CAS)
International Coordination Steering Committee (ICSC) for the
implementation phase with an initial budget of US$1.2
million. The U.S. contributes US$150,000 on an annual basis
in support of the THORPEX Project Office located at the WMO
Secretariat. A Global Interactive Forecast System is a

major goal for THORPEX. The Project Office informed the EC
of an effort to stimulate developing countries interest in
THORPEX through development of database and Numerical
Weather Prediction (NWP) product inventories.


26. The Hydrology and Water Resources program of WMO
received support from the EC (and the U.S.) to participate
in an International Flood Initiative. This initiative is a
collaboration between UNESCO and WMO hydrologic program
activities and leads the way for elimination of potential
duplication of efforts and paves the way for joint projects
using the strengths of both organizations. Many of the
activities the WMO hydrology program are committed to, such
as the WHYCOS. Training and update of the Guidelines for
Hydrologic practices are needed by the hydrologic community
and are well within WMO's capacities.


27. The EC received a WMO report showing an overall
decrease in funding for technical cooperation in 2004, due
in large measure to cut backs in funding from UNDP. Total
WMO technical assistance amounted to US$20.5 million. The
WMO was encouraged to pursue strategic partnerships with
donor organizations and focus on LDC needs and natural
disasters. The U.S. indicated it will provide US$1.98
million Voluntary Contribution Program (VCP) funding this
year. In a side-meeting of VCP donors, the WMO provided
information on assistance to Iraq, which to date has been
hampered by security concerns. Notable is the recent
approval by Italy of US$6.35 million to Iraq for
hydrometeorological technical assistance.


28. The chief of the cross-cutting Natural Disaster
Prevention and Mitigation Program (DPM) was filled last fall
by an American citizen, Dr. Maryam Goldnarghi. Since her
arrival the WMO has published a new brochure on DPM;
participated actively in the UN World Conference on Disaster
Reduction (Kobe, Japan) and activities related to Tsunami
assessment/all hazard-early warning systems; held a first
meeting of the DPM working Group; and prepared a
strategy/planning document. The budget approved for this
biennium calls for US$2 million with an additional US$2.5
million in funding from external contributions. This
represents a 90% increase in budget with 2 times the
personnel and 2 times the budget over 2003/4. EC discussion
in side-meetings and plenary focused on the need for
harmonization of the DPM budget with those of the other WMO
Programs involved in disasters, the need for strategic
partnerships with other organizations, and called for
stronger performance measures in the DPM strategic plan.


29. The director position within the WMO was elevated to a
D-1 level. Dr. Don Hinsman, an American citizen, holds this
post. The EC considers the WMO Space Programme and national
space agencies as the major contributors to the space
component of GEOSS. EC discussion focused on the importance
and continuation of the annual WMO Consultative Meetings on
High-Level Policy on Satellite Matters since they provide a
forum for dialogue between WMO and space agency officials on
the transition of research satellites and their data to

30. The EC supported the establishment of Regional ATOVS
Retransmission Systems (RARS). Both China and Japan stated
that they would be developing RARS and contributing those
data as part of an Integrated Global Data Dissemination
Service. This has important implications for ATOVS use by
global NWP centers, as well as potential expansion to
include MODIS and AIRS data - both weather and GEOSS
relevant. There was strong support for continued growth of
the Virtual Laboratory (VL) and the role it was playing in
improving satellite data utilization with WMO Members. Oman
announced the establishment of a VL "Centre of Excellence"
for satellite products; the Russian Federation will also
establish a VL Centre of Excellence.

31. Japan announced that MTSAT-1R, a Meteorological and
Telecommunication Satellite located at the Equator and 140
East, would become operational on June 28, 2005. They also
expressed their gratitude to the U.S. for the loan of GOES-9
during the period prior to MTSAT-1R becoming operational.
EUMETSAT stated that its Indian Ocean coverage will continue
until the end of 2008.


32. The EC Action Group for an Enhanced WMO, chaired by Gen
Kelly, presented its report to the EC on possible ways to
make the WMO more responsive, proactive and relevant through
changes in way it conducts its activities. The Group
recognized the need to better organize and track performance
of the WMO with respect to principal cross-cutting issues.
Direction for change must come from the Organization's
President and Vice-presidents with support from the S-G to
effect change throughout the Secretariat. The Action Group
also emphasized a need for the EC to take a more proactive
role between sessions and for WMO elements across the board
to develop a coherent approach on key issues and societal

33. The EC merged into a new Working Group (WG) the EC
Action Group for an Enhanced WMO with the Group on the Role
and Operation of National Meteorological and Hydrological
Services (R&OpNMHS). The WG R&OpNMHS considered the need
for increased NMHS recognition within its community of users
and recommended two outward-looking statements addressed to
decision makers and senior officials of NMHSs. The EC
adopted a statement on the "Role and Operation of National
Meteorological and Hydrological Services (for decision-
makers)" and recommended further work on a second statement
for NMHSs.


34. VADM Lautenbacher, in his capacity as a GEO co-chair,
provided the EC with a presentation on the status and plans
for GEOSS. A lively discussion followed with many members
seeking information about how countries in their regions
could join the GEO effort. The EC agreed the GEOSS is an
important initiative that can help WMO members address
environmental and other challenges during the coming
decades. The EC approved a resolution calling upon the WMO
Secretariat to host the GEO Secretariat and establish a

Trust Fund to support its work. It was announced during the
session that Dr. Jose Achache (France) was selected GEO
Secretariat Director.



35. Mr. Chow Kok Kee (Malaysia) presented outcomes of the
WMO Workshop on Quality Management, Kuala Lumpur, November
2004. A majority of members expressed the need for
additional technical guidance from WMO in developing and
implementing a Quality Management System (QMS). The
Secretariat noted the availability of the "First WMO

Technical Report on QMF," (WMO/TD-No. 1268) which is
comprised of quality management manuals from NMHSs having
successfully implemented a QMS. The EC requested the S-G to
establish a website to facilitate information exchange on
QMS and to distribute a list of ISO 9001 certified NMSs
willing to receive visitors for training. However, EC
members from developing countries continue to express
concern over the high cost of implementing and maintaining
ISO 9001.


36. Mr. Udo Gartner, chairman to the EC Task Team to
Explore and Assess the Possible Changes to the WMO
Convention, informed the Council of possible draft
Amendments to the Convention. Discussion among EC members
ranged from the need to make the 50-year old Convention more
relevant to WMO's global role to concern about ratification
prospects for an amended Convention. Alternate to Gen
Kelly, General Johnson, noted difficulties with any changes
requiring US ratification in light of WMO's recent fraud
problem and mismanagement in other UN agencies. Canada
agreed, indicating that its government believes the language
proposed by the Task Team - even for the preamble - would
require ratification. The EC decided to continue the Task
Team with a greater number of members and charged it with
further exploring benefits and risks involved in advancing
Convention amendments, as well as other options such as a
periodic WMO Declaration as was accepted by the Cg-XIV.
Carlos Fuller agreed to represent Region IV in the
reconstituted Task Team, and informally requested US
involvement given its concerns expressed during the EC. The
S-G will send a letter to all members requesting their
comments by November 1, 2005 on proposed amendments.


37. The representation of women within the WMO Secretariat,
particularly at professional levels (P and D grades), is a
US policy interest within the UN system, as is US
representation in general within UN Organizations. The
Secretariat's designated WMO Gender Focal Point, Ms.

Virginia Guerrero gave two briefings to members on
activities within the Secretariat. The US Perm Rep was
represented at each briefing. Nearly 80 countries have
designated a gender focal point for the NHMS; Ms. Vickie
Nadolski, NOAA-NWS, represents the U.S. The WMO has
established a dedicated website within its domain for women
in meteorology and hydrology and is seeking pictorial
contributions from Members. Cg-XIV provided a benchmark of
actions to be completed by the Secretariat during the 14th
Financial period which included conducting a third WMO
Conference on Women in Meteorology and Hydrology. The US
delegation reminded the S-G that the WMO gender policy and
Implementation Plan are overdue.

38. The US Perm Rep along with the WMO and staff, has
worked tirelessly to encourage and promote American citizen
applications for WMO positions. Since the last EC in June
2004 the U.S. has garnered two D-level positions - Donald
Hinsman (WMO Space Program) and David Goodrich (GCOS), and
two P-level positions - Maryam Goldnarghi (Natural Disaster
Program) and Robert Stephanski (World Climate Program).


39. The Council awarded the 50th International
Meteorological Organization prize to Dr. John W. Zillman,
former WMO President (1995-2003) and former Director of
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology. The 2005 Norbert Gerbier-
MUMM International award was presented to Dr. G. Beig
(France) et al. during a ceremony and reception at WMO HQs.
The Council conferred the 2005 WMO Research Award for Young
Scientists to Dr. Nedjelika Zagar (Sweden) and Dr. Xiao
Cunde (China). The United Arab Emirate Prize for Excellence
in Advancing the Science and Practice of Weather
Modification in collaboration with the WMO (US $50,000) was
conferred on ten winners, both individual and institutional.
US winners included Thomas Henderson (Atmospherics
Incorporated), Bernard Silverman, William Woodley and Daniel
Rosenfeld (Woodley Weather Consultants), and Peter Hobbs
with Arthur Rangno (University of Washington).

40. The US Perm Rep hosted a reception (sponsored by IBM)
for EC members, guests, and WMO Secretariat staff on June 23
at Villa Tatiana, residence of Ambassador Kevin Moley, US
Mission Geneva. Russia (WMO President), Italy, France,
Germany, China and the UK also hosted receptions.


41. The 58th session of the EC will be held in Geneva, June
20-30, 2006. Some EC members noted the late June timing of
EC sessions significantly impact their staffing resources
since they must also cover the UNESCO Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission meetings occurring during the same
time frame in Paris. Udo Gartner (Germany) addressed the EC
in a parting farewell; he will retire from the Duetsch
Wetterdienst in October 2005.


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