2 July 2007, Rome – Under an agreement signed today between the Italian Air Force and FAO, Italy’s Defence Ministry will supply to FAO real-time meteorological data, products and
services that will help the UN agency improve its services in developing countries, particularly with regard to sustainable development and the safeguard of the environment.
The FAO will use the data to strengthen its own and member countries’ capacities in fighting global emergencies (climate variability and change, desertification, deforestation, loss of
biodiversity, etc.). Its collaboration with the “Stato Maggiore, Ufficio Generale per lo Spazio Aereo e la Meteorologia” (USAM), which is the Italian agency providing the data, will improve
FAO’s efficiency in crop monitoring and yield forecasting for the benefit of most vulnerable countries.
Improved meteorological data and weather forecasts will also help farmers obtain the best from land, water and climate resources, thus contributing to boost productivity of agriculture,
forestry and fisheries in their respective countries.
“The promotion and development of agro-meteorology is aimed at helping developing countries strengthen agriculture production and food security without harming the environment,” said Alexander
M?r, FAO Assistant Director-General, Natural Resources Management and Environment Department.
Mr M?r signed the agreement on behalf of FAO. He paid tribute to the efforts exerted by the FAO Legal Office through the long process of negotiation with the “Stato Maggiore Difesa”, which led
to the accord, and he also expressed his thanks to USAM and to Centro Nazionale di Meteorologia e Climatologia Aeronautica (CNMCA), which will now collaborate more closely with FAO’s climatic
Brig. Gen. Massimo Capaldo, head Reparto Meteorologia USAM, signed on behalf of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Italy.
A long history
FAO has a long history of involvement with climate-related activities. In 1960, FAO signed the first formal agreement with the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which gave birth to
the “Interagency Agro-climatology Project” to promote agro-climatological studies in areas where large agricultural developments were anticipated.
In 1968, FAO, WMO and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established the “Interagency Group on Agricultural Biometeorology”, joined in 1972 by the UN Environment
Today, FAO manages a climatic database for about 32 000 stations worldwide. It produces digital climatic maps, monitors in real-time food crop conditions, forecasts yields and assesses
agro-climatic impact on agriculture, forests and fishery products.