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South Asia Hydromet Forum 2021

November 15-18, 2021

Bangkok, Thailand


The third annual South Asia Hydromet Forum (SAHF III) on November 15-18, 2021, will examine how pooling data, resources, and information can improve weather and climate services as the region adapts to climate change. The event is organized by the World Bank, Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia, and Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, with support from the European Union, World Meteorological Organization, and UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The virtual conference will have eight sessions.

Forum participants:  Click here to register and join the Zoom sessions

Public:  Watch livestreamed sessions at

Follow the event on Twitter with hashtag #SAHydrometForum


  • Almost 600 million people -- nearly one-third of South Asia’s population -- were affected by at least one climate-related disaster in the last decade. Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar were ranked among the top 25 countries in Germanwatch’s 2021 Global Climate Risk Index.

    The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in its August 2021 assessment that South Asia's weather hazards are intensifying. Serious risks include hotter temperatures with longer and highly variable monsoon seasons, cyclones, floods, drought, and melting glaciers. The region's growing population and urbanization are exposing more people to weather hazards.

    Helping countries adapt to climate change

    International experience suggests that every dollar invested in strengthening early warning information generates benefits of up to $10. Even more cost effective are comprehensive weather information services tailored for specific sectors. A National Council of Applied Economic Research study found a dollar invested in delivering accurate, actionable weather information to farmers and fishers generated estimated benefits of up to $50.

    The South Asia Hydromet Forum (SAHF III) will build on the outcomes of two previous events. The 2018 forum focused on the importance of quality delivery of weather, water and climate services and early warning systems. The 2019 event discussed the value of regional cooperation and led to the design of a program to address SAHF priorities.

    Hydromet Forum supports regional cooperation

    SAHF III will propose enhanced regional collaboration and innovation, such as adopting a common approach throughout the climate and early warning information value chain. The goal is for South Asia to adopt collaborative regional strategies to increase the production of weather, climate and water-related information and to strengthen the delivery of user-oriented advisory services. 

    The forum brings together national weather agencies, disaster preparedness experts, water managers, and stakeholders such as the general public, academia, development partners, and donors. An important role of the forum is sharing knowledge and best practices and developing solutions to the region's unique challenges for hydromet services delivery.

    SAHF III will: 

    • Showcase regional best practices and approaches in the hydromet and climate services value chain; 
    • Deepen and strengthen the SAHF program and weather, water, and climate services at the national and regional levels;
    • Share knowledge about innovations and the socio-economic benefits of the value chain for hydromet and climate services as countries invest in new technology over the next decade; and 
    • Discuss and agree on the design of future SAHF activities. 
  • Nov. 15, 2021 - Opening Session SAHF III

    11 a.m. - 12 p.m. UTC

    Weather and climate services are evolving to serve numerous sectors and help policy makers understand and respond to increasing climate risks in South Asia. This session will highlight SAHF's potential contribution to help communities in the region build climate resilience. Speakers include policy makers, national hydromet representatives from the SAHF Executive Council, and development partners.

    Session Chair: Dr. M. Ravichandran, Secretary of India Ministry of Earth Sciences, and Chair RIMES Council

    Opening remarks - Dr. Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director General of Meteorology, India Meteorological Department, and Chair, SAHF Executive Council

    Priorities and Support to Enhance Regional Cooperation - Ms. Cecile Fruman, Director of Regional Integration and Engagement, South Asia Region, World Bank 

    World Meteorological Organization's Strategic Plan 2020-23 and Support for Regional Services - Mr. Ben Churchill, Head, WMO Regional Office for Asia and the South-West Pacific

    The Role of SAHF in Reducing Disaster Risks - Mr. Kamal Kishore, Member Secretary, India National Disaster Management Authority 

    Keynote Address - H.E. Abdullah Naseer, Maldives Minister of State for Environment, Climate Change and Technology

    Closing Remarks - RIMES Director Mr. A.R. Subbiah.


    Nov. 16, 2021 - Session 1

    What do Users Need? Customized Weather and Climate Services that Add Value to Economies and Communities

    4 a.m. - 5:30 a.m. UTC

    A showcase of innovative, proven best practices that are designed around user needs for climate and early warning information. Experts will also discuss the economic benefits of investing in national hydromet services.

    Session Co-chairs:  Mr. Fazlur Rashid, Director General, Bangladesh Water Development Board, and Dr. David Rogers, Lead Meteorological Consultant, World Bank

    Design and Delivery of Tailor-made Services to Facilitate Forecast-based Actions (FbAs): Lessons from Northwest Bangladesh - Mr. Raihanul Haque, Bangladesh Country Lead, RIMES

    Panel Discussion:

    Q & A


    Nov. 16, 2021 - Session 2

    Making Sense of Forecasts: Evolving Protocols and Support Systems for Impact-based Forecasting

    5:40 a.m. - 7:20 a.m. UTC

    Weather forecasters and users can work together to design services that integrate weather, water, and climate data into decision systems. A SAHF Working Group identified challenges and opportunities to institutionalize impact-based forecasts in the region. This session will examine institutional and technological innovations to meet SAHF priorities.

    Session Chair: Mr. Anil Pokhrel, Chief Executive, Nepal National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority

    Evolution of Interface Mechanisms Between National Hydromet Agencies and User/Stakeholder Institutions and Pilot Programs to Transform Data into Actionable Information

    • Bangladesh National Center for Climate Applications - Mr. Md. Azizur Rahman,Director, Bangladesh Meteorological Department
    • SATARK impact forecast system - Mr. Arabinda Ray, Odisha State Disaster Management Authority
    • ARRCC contribution to SAHF priorities - Ms. Catrina Johnson, UK Met Office

    Panel Discussion moderated by Mr. A.R. Subbiah, Director RIMES:

    • Pakistan Climate Impact and Integration Centre - Dr. Azmat Hayat Khan, Head-CIIC, Pakistan Meteorological Department
    • Integration of Disease Surveillance Technologies and Climate Information for Forecast-based Public Health - Dr. Reuben Samuel, WHO Programme Area Manager for Country Preparedness, Southeast Asia Region
    • Applications of Weather and Climate Information for Agriculture - Dr. Punyawardena, Director, Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture

    Q & A and interactive discussion about data and co-development required for impact-based forecasting


    Nov. 16, 2021 - Session 3

    Catching up to the Science - Improving Weather and Climate Forecasts for the Region

    7:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. UTC

    Weather and climate services to minimize the impacts of extreme local weather depend on global and regional forecasts and observational resources. The South Asia region needs to seize opportunities to make full use of global resources and regional collaboration for strategic investments and plans over the next decade. Such actions will enable national hydromet agencies to meet stakeholder needs for actionable impact-based forecasts. This session will highlight SAHF priorities and make recommendations to address challenges during the next decade.

    Session Co-Chairs:  Mr. Karma Dupchu, Director, Bhutan National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology, and Mr. Ben Churchill, Head, WMO Regional Office for Asia and the South-West Pacific

    SAHF Program Design to Meet Challenges and Harness Opportunities in the Coming DecadeDr. Shiromani Jayawardane, Director, Weather Forecasting and Decision Support, Sri Lanka Department of Meteorology

    Evolution of the Global Weather Enterprise - Dr. Alan Thorpe, Visiting Professor, University of Reading, and former Director General, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts

    Panel Discussion:  Advances in Research and Development to Improve Weather Forecasts in South Asia

    Q & A


    Nov. 17, 2021 - Session 4

    Skilling up South Asia Hydromet – Training that Leaves an Impact

    5 a.m. - 6:15 a.m. UTC

    National hydromet agencies in South Asia have adopted a range of training and capacity building initiatives but gaps remain, especially for delivery of weather and climate services. This session will discuss training needs across the hydromet services value chain, building on an assessment by the World Bank and RIMES based on reviews, country consultations, and surveys.The session will highlight best practices from global experiences and other innovations that could be adopted in South Asia.

    Session Chair: Dr. Shiromani Jayawardane, Director of Weather Forecasting and Decision Support, Sri Lanka Department of Meteorology

    SAHF Capacity Development Challenges and Priorities – Dr. G. Srinivasan, Chief Scientist, RIMES, and Dr. K.J. Ramesh, Advisor, RIMES

    Panel Discussion: Contributions of global, regional, and national institutions to SAHF capacity enhancement priorities, moderated by Dr. G. Srinivasan, RIMES

    • Customization of COMET training modules - Dr. Elizabeth Page, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research 
    • Contribution to SAHF Priorities: India Meteorological Department Training Center - Dr. Somnath Dutta
    • Contribution to SAHF Priorities: Pakistan Meteorological Department Training Division - Dr. Sarfaraz
    • Training resources for addressing SAHF priorities: UK Met Office - Dr. Helen Caughey
    • Opportunities for Advanced Training on Operational Oceanographic Services: International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOocean) - Dr. T. V. S. Udaya Bhaskar

    Q & A 


    Nov. 17, 2021 - Session 5

    ‘Data, data everywhere but not enough to use’: Observational Systems, Regional Exchange, Information Systems

    6:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. UTC

    An optimal observational system requires an ability to integrate and manage diverse sources of hydromet data. The region faces challenges in sustaining observational networks and maintaining systems, interoperability, and data-sharing. This session will discuss strategic planning for effective observational networks and enhancing data sharing to improve warnings of extreme weather.

    Session Co-Chairs:  Dr. Jagadishwor Karmacharya, Deputy Director General, Nepal Department of Hydrology and MeteorologySaraju Baidya, and Dr. Kyaw Moe Oo, Director General, Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.

    SAHF Priorities for Enhancing and Sustaining Observation Networks - Mr. Nadeem Faisal, SAHF Working Group on Observational Networks

    Updates on WMO Observations and Data Exchange Infrastructure and Protocols - Mr. Anthony Rea, WMO Director, Infrastructure

    European Space Agency Data and Products Support to South Asia Hydromet Services – Mr. Clement Albergel, Climate Application Scientist, ESA

    Contribution of RIMES Regional Data Sharing Mechanisms by Harnessing State of Art Data Analytics Technologies and Innovative Practices - Dr. Itesh Dash, RIMES

    Leveraging Public and Private Sector Engagement - Dr. Kumar Margasahayam, Regional Manager, Earth Networks/ Advanced Environmental Monitoring

    Panel Discussion: Harnessing Innovations in Observation Systems and Enhancing Effectiveness of Operations and Maintenance to meet SAHF Priorities: Global Weather Enterprise  - moderated by Dr. Alice Soares, World Bank, and Dr. K.J Ramesh, Senior Advisor, RIMES.

    • Mr. Simon Brown - Service Director, UK Met Office
    • Mr. Erik Andersson - National Expert seconded to the European Commission by the European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecasts
    • Mr. Jerry Lengoasa - Director of Disaster Risk Solutions Pty., former WMO Deputy Secretary General
    • Dr. Jagadishwor Karmacharya – Deputy Director General, Nepal Department of Hydrology and Meteorology
    • Mr. Ali Shareef – Deputy Director General, Maldives Meteorological Services
    • Dr. P. Srinivasalu – General Manager Research & Development, Astra Microwave Private Limited

    Q & A


    Nov. 18, 2021 - Session 6

    Collaborations for Improved Weather and Climate Services in South Asia

    Significant efforts are being made to improve weather and climate services in South Asia, mostly through national investments. These are essential to build the capability to exploit scientific and technological advances to deliver a wide range of services demanded by users. However, discrete investments and country-alone approaches do not have lasting impacts in sustaining these services. By pooling skills and resources, countries in the region can have equal access to a high level of shared knowledge that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive or unavailable. This session considers the opportunities for regional collaboration and examples of cooperation in other global regions.

    Session Chair:  Mr. Abhas Jha, Practice Manager, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, World Bank South Asia Region

    Lessons from Regional Investments in Hydromet: Southeast Europe


    • Mr. Daniel Kull - Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, World Bank Europe and Central Asia
    • Dr. Michael Staudinger -  President, WMO Regional Association for Europe
    • Dr. Branka Ivančan-Picek - Director General, Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service
    • Dr. Kornélia Radics - President, Hungarian Meteorological Service

    Panel Discussion: Regional Approach and Investments for strengthening hydromet services in SAR: moderated by Mr. Abhas Jha, World Bankegional Investments to Strengthen Hydromet Services

    • UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office representative
    • European Union representative
    • UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific - Dr. Sanjay Srivastava, Chief of Disaster Risk Reduction
    • Japan International Cooperation Agency - Dr. Masahito Ishihara, Senior Advisor on Meteorological Sector
    • Asian Developmental Bank - Mr. Steven Goldfinch, DRR Specialist
    • WMO - Mr. Ben Churchill, Head, Regional Office for Asia and Southwest Pacific
    • UK Met Office - Mr. David Corbelli, Senior International Development Manager, ARRCC Program

    Q & A


    Nov. 18, 2021 - Closing Session 

    SAHF III Voices and Future Directions

    Feedback and comments from participants facilitated by Mr. Ramraj Narasimhan, RIMES. Discussion moderated by Dr. K.J Ramesh, RIMES, and Dr. Alice Soares, World Bank.

    SAHF Way Forward

    • Ms. Arati Belle, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, World Bank
    • Dr. Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director General of Meteorology, India Meteorological Department, and Chair, SAHF Executive Council
    • Mr. A.R. Subbiah, Director, RIMES