By Kyaw Lwin Oo (Moe Zala)
The date of the establishment of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on 23 March 1950 has been named World Meteorological Day. This organization announces a slogan for World Meteorology Day every year, and this day is celebrated in all member countries.
World Water Day which falls on 22 March 2020 and World Meteorological Day would be commemorated at the World Meteorological Organization headquartered at Geneva.
The WMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations whose mandate covers weather, climate and water resources. The UN’s scientific voice on the state and behavior each year, and celebrated the event.
The theme of the WMD for 2020 is “Climate and Water”, which will align with the topic of World Water Day 2020, focusing on climate change and water. The theme which is chosen for World Meteorological Day reflects the issue of tropical weather, climate, and water.
Today’s world is experiencing challenges such as the need for clean drinking water, threat of flooding and menace of droughts. The month of February in 2020 was recorded with global warming of 0 point 08 degree centigrade higher than the February average for 1981-2010, according to the statement issued on 5 March 2020.
February 2020 was more than 3 point 9 degree centigrade warmer than the February average for 1981-2010 in Europe. It was recorded as the second warmest February.
In Southeast Asian countries, the month February 2020 was recorded as warmer than the average. All the records were found to be warmer than the previous average of warming.
Warming of the earth is compounded with the hazards of lesser rains resulting with the extreme droughts, making prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to a shortage of water on the planet.
Along with the droughts, the conditions bring in lack of foods and poor health status leaving the people into poverty with the mismanagement of land use bracing the brunt of famine.
Droughts bring in the catastrophes totaling US$ six to eight billions each year, in addition of loss of lives. The worst conditions were the natural disasters.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Global Water Partnership (GWP) are increasing their long-standing cooperation to strengthen water resource management at a time when climate change, population shifts and environmental degradation are leading to more stress on water supplies and more water-related hazards.
The two organizations signed a Framework Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on strategic collaboration to achieve the objectives of Integrated Water Resources Management. It was signed on 6 June 2019 during a special Hydrological Assembly during the World Meteorological Congress.
In partnership, the two organizations are implementing such as that of regional droughts managements, that of early warning system, that of evaluation of social and environmental impacts, that of providing training courses, that of imparting training to be alert to face droughts, that of advance preparation to be ready to cooperate.
In citing some references, the theme on the meteorological drought has been carried out during rainy season of May to September in 2019. The campaign covered Myitkyina, Bamo, Putao, Mindut, Haka, Hpalam, Khamti, Hommalin, Katha, Mawleik, Kalaywa, Kalay, Tamu, Minkin, Shwebo, Monywa, Sagaing, Kyaemon, Mandalay, Meiktila, Nyaung Oo, Myingyan, Mogok, Lun Kyaw, Hlaing Tet, Pyinmana, Lashio, Hsi-baw, Kyaukmai, Kengtung, Mai Suk, Pakokku, Chauk, Minbu, Magway, Sittwe, Kyaukphyu, Sandoway, Gwa, Toungoo, Bago, Tayawaddy, Hmawbi, Maubin, Bassein, Myaungmya, Tanbyuzayat, Dawei, Myeik, and Kawthaung. These areas suffered severe droughts hitting hard in Sagaing, Magway and Mandalay Divisions.
With the backdrops of world catastrophes, Myanmar is needed to cope with the changing weather patterns, in the areas of climate endurance, strategies, and main program for 2018-2030.
In 2050, the world population is expected to hit 9 point 7 billion. With the rising population, it is vital to consider food security and clean water sufficiency, which is the main target for mankind. Water usage would be higher for 20 to 30 per cent for compared to current use, and that two billion people would face water crisis.
Leaving no one behind
Water use has been increasing worldwide by about 1% per year since the 1980s, driven by a combination of population growth, socio-economic development and changing consumption patterns.
Global water demand is expected to continue increasing at a similar rate until 2050, accounting for an increase of 20 % to 30% above the current level of water use, mainly due to rising demand in the industrial and domestic sectors. Over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress, and about 4 billion people experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year.
Stress levels will continue to increase as demand for water grows and the effects of climate change intensify.
The United Nations World Water Development Report mentioned that it would “Leaving no one behind”, being launched on 19 March 2019 during the 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The event took place in conjunction with the World Water Day, which demonstrates how improvements in water resources management and access to water supply and sanitation services. They are essential to addressing various social and economic inequities, such that “no one is left behind” when it comes to enjoying the multiple benefits and opportunities that water provides.
Safe drinking water and sanitation are recognized as basic human rights, as they are indispensable to sustaining healthy livelihoods and fundamental in maintaining the dignity of all human beings.
The impacts of climate change on human health on this planet are predicted to be unfavorable, varied, and disproportionately affect the most vulnerable population groups who are most exposed and least able to adapt. Likely impacts in many countries include those associated with extreme weather events and natural disasters, lack of sufficient quantities and quality of freshwater, impacts of compromised food security, and increased incidence of communicable diseases.
Thanks to South West Monsoon, Myanmar enjoys abundant rain falls from 70 percent to 90 percent, fulfilling water resources in the country.
Myanmar has made progress on disaster risk management (DRM) and has established institutions and programmes to strengthen disaster resilience. In 2013, the government enacted the Natural Disaster Management Law, with supporting disaster management rules issued in 2015.
In 2016, the National Natural Disaster Management Committee was formed by the Government. Its main functions include formulating policy and guidelines for mobilizing internal resources during disasters; outlining policy for coordination when international assistance is needed; assisting in managing state budget and state-owned resources to places in need; and issuing orders and notification to ensure effective management during and after disasters.
The Myanmar Action Plan on Disaster Risk Reduction 2009–15 had successfully provided an institutional framework for DRM in the country. On the policy side, in 2012, the government released a National Adaptation Program for Action, with an aim to analyze past and expected impacts of climate change in Myanmar and to identify priority actions for adaptation. Additionally, earthquake resilience is an integral part of a new Myanmar National Building Code.
Never the less, Myanmar is exposed to a range of natural hazards, including cyclones, earthquakes, floods, landslides, tsunamis, and volcanoes. These hazards are accompanied by high economic and social costs, with a significant impact on the poor and most vulnerable.
Relevant Ministries, Departments, and organizations across the country, including states and regions, are working hands in hands in facing and redressing natural disasters.
Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Transport. The main works performed by DMH are routine observation and analysis of meteorological phenomena, and providing weather and climate information for the general public. These are the most important works for mitigation and prevention of natural disasters.
DMH transferred to Ministry of Communications, Posts and Telegraphs from the Ministry of Transport and Communication on 3 February 1992. On 20 August 1999, DMH transferred to the Ministry of Transport.
DMH is being accomplished his works in cooperation with many International Organizations.
Manmade climate change has an effect on weather conditions. El Nino and El Nina have an extreme negative effect on water resources. When the heat rises on this planet, then extreme weather patterns prevails, resulting in natural disasters.
Through the identification of bad weather conditions, and by advanced preparation, loss of lives and properties could be avoided.
A disaster can be defined as an event that occurs in most cases suddenly and unexpectedly, causing severe disturbances to people or objects affected by it, and resulting in loss of life and harm to the health of the population, the destruction or loss of community property, and/or severe damage to the environment.
Disasters may be explosions, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornados, or fires. In a disaster, one faces the danger of death or physical injury. One may also lose home, possessions, and community.
Therefore, climate change and its challenges are to be taken with seriousness.
The DMH has equipped with modern facilities to fulfill the assigned tasks in reducing natural disasters. Climate change and water resources management through short term and long term cooperation, the DMH is stepping ahead in full gear.
While hailing and honoring the 60th Anniversary of World Meteorological Day, I wish that the Myanma monsoon remains fine; that the Myanma water resources may bring sustainable development for social economy; and that the people may have the capability and resilience in facing the natural disasters. Translated By UMT (Ahlon)