The first meeting between the West African National Meteorological Services, the Spanish Meteorological Service (AEMET, then INM) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretariat was held in February 2007 during the Regional Association I meeting in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).

Subsequent meetings where held also in March 2007 during the "WMO International Conference on Secure and Sustainable Living Conditions: Socioeconomic benefits of weather climate and water services" (Madrid, Spain) and in May 2007 during a side meeting at the XV WMO Congress in Geneva (Switzerland).

WMO International Conference

Following the previous experience that has been employed successfully to implement regional and national cooperation projects with the Ibero-American Meteorological Services Conference, it was proposed to start working together as a West African Directors’ Conference.

This meeting took place in Casa Africa, at Las Palmas de Gran Canarias (Canary Island, Spain), between the 17th and 19th of October 2007. The Secretary-General of WMO, Mr. Michel Jarraud, and the Secretary-General for Pollution, Prevention and Climate Change of the Ministry of Environment of Spain, Mr. Arturo Gonzalo opened the meeting. It was attended by the Directors of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) of the region, representatives from ECOWAS, the Africa Union, AGRHYMET and ACMAD and also representatives from European Meteorological Services.

Directors of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) of the region

It was expressed the appreciation to the Government of Spain and AEMET and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for their commitment to support the development of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) of the region to contribute to the sustainable development of their respective countries.

The main outcome of this meeting is the Las Palmas Statement and an Action Plan to be followed during the year 2008.

Las Palmas Statement (summary):

We, the Directors of North and Western Africa NMHSs, including Spain as Member of WMO Regional Association I:

Recognizing the new challenges produced by climate change especially for developing countries and the role that the NMHSs should play in support to adaptation policies;

Recognizing also that most countries in North and Western Africa region are Least Developed Countries and that five of them come from recent war conflicts;

Welcoming the presence in the meeting of representatives of regional integration organizations such as African Union and ECOWAS and recognizing the relevance and need of their political support for the development of the NMHSs in the region;

Also welcoming the presence of observers representing development partners such as the IM of Portugal, MétéoFrance and NOAA;

Considering the Madrid Declaration and Action Plan emphasizing in particular the need to develop case studies on the socioeconomic benefits of the infrastructure and services provided by the NMHSs, and the need to enhance the capacity of these institution;

Being aware of the opportunities for capacity building offered by the Africa Plan of the Government of Spain and the Trust Fund created in the WMO Secretariat by Spain as well as by other initiatives,

Recognizing the importance and advantages of mutual cooperation to accomplish the mission of NMHSs,


1. To establish a Forum of Directors of NMHSs including the organization of an annual meeting in the initial phase.

2. To develop and implement both Annual Plans and a long term Action Plans.

3. To use as a main source of seed funding for the projects and activities in the Action Plan the Trust Fund created in the WMO Secretariat by Spain as well as the Africa Plan of the Government of Spain, and also to identify other possible sources of funding.

4. To facilitate the horizontal cooperation in meteorology and hydrology within the region with the purpose of increasing multilateral cooperation.

5. To submit Forum of Directors conclusions to Ministries in charge of meteorology in each participating country, to CILSS, ECOWAS and UMA, as well as to WMO aimed at obtaining support at national and at international levels to these initiatives of cooperation in meteorology and hydrology in the North and West Africa region.

6. To support the organization of the Conference of Ministers responsible of meteorology.