Intl weather advisory system presented in Ljubljana

Ljubljana, 15 June - Phase one of an early warning advisory system in SE Europe, which aims to strengthen protection against natural disasters caused by weather, concluded as a two-day conference ended in Ljubljana on Thursday.

Petteri Taalas, the secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which organised the conference with the Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO), said that the system aimed to provide efficient and tested tools for operative forecasts of hazardous weather events.

Because of its trans-national nature, the system, which is scheduled to become fully operational within five years, will facilitate cooperation among authorities from different countries.

The president of the WMO Regional Association VI (Europe), Ivan Čačić, highlighted the importance of international cooperation in the field because of the nature of weather events, which often cross national borders.

Klemen Bergant, the director of the Meteorological Office of the Environment Agency, pointed to last year's flash floods in Macedonia, in which around 20 people died, as an event that could have been prevented with the system.

Countries with modest capabilities in the field would get the most from the system, in which 20 countries are expected to cooperate. The first phase of the project was financed by the US agency for international development USAID.