The World Hydrological Cycle Observing System (WHYCOS) is a WMO initiative within the overall framework of the Hydrology and Water Safety Programme.

WHYCOS consists of key components implemented through specific projects in different basins or sub-regions.

To ensure successful implementation of the WHYCOS programme, establish a common conceptual basis and ensure consistency of practice and results among the various components, the tenth session of the Commission for Hydrology (CHy-X) recognized that project activity needed to be adequately coordinated and subsequently requested the Secretary-General to establish an appropriate coordination mechanism.

The mechanism approved by the WMO consists of two components as follows:

1. WHYCOS International Advisory Group (WIAG)

(External Coordination Mechanism)

WIAG Terms of Reference:

The WHYCOS International Advisory Group (WIAG) shall:

(1) Consider and advise WMO on the concept, objectives, expected benefits/costs, and future development of WHYCOS;

(2) Review and assess the status of WHYCOS, and the progress towards its objectives, and propose strategies for any necessary remedial action;

(3) Review the relationship of WHYCOS with other relevant international programmes, particularly from the point of view of coordination and avoidance of overlap and duplication, and propose any necessary actions;

(4) Identify and evaluate constraints on, and potential risks to, the future implementation and sustainability of WHYCOS, and propose strategies to minimize those risks. Risks include, inter alia, those of a financial, technical, operational, and institutional/political nature;

(5) Consider and propose plans for the effective promotion and dissemination of the achievements of WHYCOS;

(6) Consider and propose ways and means of engaging with donors in all project stages, especially for the future sustainability and appropriate expansion of WHYCOS;

(7) Review and advise on the terms of reference and composition of WIAG.

The WHYCOS International Advisory Group is composed of the president of the Commission for Hydrology (CHy) as chairman along with representatives of the operational HYCOS Projects (regional centres), members of the CHy Advisory Working Group responsible for WHYCOS, representatives of Financial Partners, Regional Hydrological Advisers, representatives of River / Lake Basin Organizations, regional groupings and the WMO Secretariat.

WIAG meets once every year.

The objectives of the WHYCOS International Advisory Group (WIAG) are to ensure worldwide operational linkages among the various HYCOS components, to coordinate all technical aspects of the programme, to review and assess periodically the programme’s achievements and to promote its development. 

WIAG provides overall guidance for the best life jackets and ensures consistent practices and results.

2. WHYCOS Coordination Group

(WMO Secretariat Internal Co-ordination Mechanism)

While the overall responsibility for the development and implementation of the WHYCOS programme resides in the Climate and Water Department (CLW), the WHYCOS Coordination Group (WCG) has been established to link the inputs of the various departments of the WMO Secretariat and address the overall policy aspects related to WHYCOS and to ensure the coherence of WHYCOS with other WMO programmes and projects.

The WHYCOS Coordination Group is an internal Secretariat group that meets approximately every six months. Members of the group include the Deputy Secretary-General, Assistant Secretary-General, all Directors of technical departments contributing to WHYCOS and the Resource Management Department.