Over 150 meteorological, hydrological and disaster risk reduction experts in the Asia Pacific region gathered in Hanoi, Vietnam from 28 February to 3 March 2018 to attend the 50th Session of United Nations ESCAP1 / World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Typhoon Committee and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Typhoon Committee. The memorable occasion was attended by Professor Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General, with 13 out of the 14 Members of the Typhoon Committee joining the event and Mr Shun Chi-ming, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) leading the delegation from Hong Kong, China that included Miss Sharon Lau and Mr Edwin Lai, Assistant Directors, and Dr Lee Tsz-cheung, Senior Scientific Officer.
The Session began with a specially arranged high-level session presented by Heads of Delegations focusing on past achievements and future challenges in mitigating the threats posed by the impacts of tropical cyclones in their respective countries or territories. Mr Shun delivered a short talk on the progress in tropical cyclone forecasting and warning services in Hong Kong in recent decades. A “Member’s Display Area” was also set up at the event venue to showcase Members’ posters, videos and historical items on tropical cyclones services and their contribution to the Typhoon Committee over the past decades.
Previous office-bearers and key contributors to the works of the Typhoon Committee were also invited back for the 50th anniversary celebration, including Mr Lam Chiu-ying and Mrs Elaine Koo (former Director and Assistant Director of HKO respectively), as well as Mr Edwin Lai in his former role as the Chairperson of the Committee’s Advisory Working Group. An “Old Friends” panel session was organized for them to reflect on fond memories and challenging experiences, with the lively sharing seasoned with words of wisdom and enlightenment that pointed the way forward in the future development of the Typhoon Committee.
Mr Shun and Miss Lau also took the opportunity to visit the Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation and the National Hydro-Meteorological Service of Vietnam to discuss potential regional collaboration in the development of forecast technology and weather services.
1. ESCAP stands for Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.