Convention of the World Meteorological Organization

Subject category:
Type of agreement / instrument:
Legally-binding treaty
  • In force internationally since March 23, 1950
  • Ratified and signed by Canada July 28, 1950 and in force since then
Lead & partner departments:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and Agri-food, Canadian Space Agency, Natural Resources Canada
For further information:
Web links:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
October 2018
Reference #:

Plain language summary

This legally binding agreement governs Canada’s membership in the UN Agency with the mandate to facilitate cooperation in matters related to weather, water, climate, and air quality. Having been signed by Canada in 1950, this agreement allows Canada to access and share critical information and research needed to provide weather, water and climate information to Canadians with countries around the world on issues that affect the well-being and health of Canadians as it relates to weather, climate air and water predictions and hazards. Further, this agreement allows Canada to improve the accuracy of its weather predictions, which provides Canadians with up-to-date weather, water and climate information.


The objective of this agreement is to coordinate global activities related to meteorology including air quality, climate and water considerations. These domains do not respect political boundaries and are global in nature requiring seamless real-time sharing of earth observation data to ensure governments have the information they need to make decisions in the face of changing environmental conditions.

Key elements

The agreement requires that Governments develop and implement standards for data, data-sharing principles and put in place mechanisms to ensure global coordination of the daily exchange of information. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) also contributes to marshalling efforts and mobilizing resources to build global capacity in the domains of weather, air quality, climate and water.

Expected results

This agreement is expected to achieve measurable increases in the quality, accuracy and timeliness of meteorological information that is available to policy and decision makers, and the reduction of disasters related to weather, air quality, climate and water.

Canada’s involvement

This agreement is important to Canada because without access to global data on a real-time basis we would not be able to predict the weather beyond one or two days. Additionally, participating in WMO activities gives us access to global meteorological research, the benefits of which in terms of improved meteorological services would be prohibitively expensive to achieve on our own.

The means by which this agreement is implemented in Canada is by active participation in the governance and technical activities coordinated by the WMO and cooperative engagement of interested stakeholders and partners including other departments, jurisdictions and the private sector.

Results / progress


Canada has assumed a true leadership position with the re-election of the Permanent Representative for Canada and ADM of MSC David Grimes to a second four year term as WMO President in 2015. Additionally, in November 2016, Michel Jean, Director-General of MCS’s Canadian Centre for Meteorological and Environmental Prediction Directorate was elected as President of WMO’s Commission for Basic Systems.

Under Canadian leadership there has been a focus on effectiveness and accountability through better Strategic Planning linked to Results Based Budgeting. A key program accomplishment has been the launch of the Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services to govern the implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) that has as its goal to ensure climate services are available for all members to respond to the challenges posed by climate change. Canada has also been particularly effective in focusing research attention on polar regions to improve understanding of weather and climate processes in these areas.


Canada is a member of the WMO Executive Council, which meets annually and provides Reports on Executive Council outcomes.

Canada participates in every WMO Technical Commission through various task-specific teams related to Education and Training, Strategic and Operational Planning, Polar Matters, Observations and Data. The list of Working Groups, Task Teams, Panels, etc. and reports on meeting outcomes may be found at the website on Bodies Reporting to the Executive Council.


Implementation of the WMO Information System has modernized the way members exchange data and the WMO Integrated Global Observing System implementation is increasing access of members to global earth observations.

Canada has contributed to building the capacity of Disaster Risk Reduction through a contribution of Fast Start Climate funding to WMO to rebuild the weather and climate warning system in Haiti, with opening of the new weather service building taking place in May 2017.

In 2017, ECCC contributed $10M to support the improvement of early warning systems in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. This project is part of the Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative led by France, which will strengthen risk information and early warning systems to reduce human and economic losses associated with meteorological, hydrological and climate-related hazards and to leverage financing to protect populations exposed to extreme climate events.

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