The Typhoon Committee Secretariat (TCS) is the executive arm of the TC which is mandated to assist the Committee in its day-to-day work. It was established in 1968 as the ECAFE/WMO Joint Unit on Typhoons with financial assistance from UNDP and was initially located in Bangkok, Thailand. In response to an invitation from the Philippines, it was transferred to Manila in 1971 and was renamed TCS.
It’s main function is to advise Members on the technical and administrative coordination of plans for the implementation of improved meteorological, hydrological, disaster prevention and preparedness, and other facilities needed in the mitigation of typhoon damage. Specifically its functions are as follows:
a) to advise and assist countries in the international exchange of meteorological and hydrological data, distribution of typhoon forecasts and warnings;
b) to advise and assist countries in the operation and improvement of meteorological observing networks, telecommunication systems and facilities as required for typhoon forecasting and warning, including storm surge forecasting;
c) to advise and assist countries in the operation and improvement of existing and new hydrological stations required for flood forecasts and warnings;
d) to advise countries on arrangements for the most effective means of disseminating typhoon and flood warnings within the country and to assist in organizing measures for the improvement of community preparedness and disaster prevention;
e) to advise and assist countries in organizing their programmes of training and research in typhoon forecasting and warning, hydrology and flood control measures;
f) to keep under constant review and circulate information on the progress achieved in the latest research studies relating to typhoons, storm surge and flood forecasting;
g) to encourage and to promote cooperation in research activity aimed at gaining a better understanding of typhoons and, hence, at improving forecasting methods;
h) to conduct, under specific instructions from the Typhoon Committee, studies on such specific problems concerning typhoons as would facilitate carrying out more
effectively the advisory functions stipulated under (a) to (e) with a view to supporting the action programme.
i) to assist the countries, on request, in the preparation of applications for technical, financial and other assistance for typhoon damage control.
j) to publish the Typhoon Committee Newsletter once a year;
k) to publish the Typhoon Committee Annual Review.
The TCS also maintains close contact with the Members by correspondence on all matters relating to implementation of recommended programmes. It undertakes surveys, compiles statistics and prepares various reports and Technical Notes for circulation to Members.
It has been widely accepted that Members of the Typhoon Committee including the Philippines have derived immense benefits through the work of the Committee and the TCS under each of the five components of the Committee’s action programmes.
The main function of the Secretariat has been to speed up implementation of such facilities which would contribute towards the reduction of typhoon damage, if necessary by procuring assistance from external sources. For example, in response to a request made by the Committee during the 28th session held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 5-11 December 1995, the TCS prepared a draft project proposal for the development of the typhoon forecast and warning service of Lao P.D.R. and Cambodia. The said project proposal has been submitted for funding consideration to the Asian Development Bank in October 1997.
So largely due to the TCS, most of the facilities of the Members now would not have been either implemented or their implementation would have been unduly delayed.
Further to a decision of TC in its 38th Session held in Hanoi in 2005, it was decided to transfer the TCS to Macao, China. As a result of the thorough discussions between the host country, People’s Republic of China and Typhoon Committee, an agreement of hosting the TCS in Macao, China was reached. The agreement designated as “Host Country Agreement Between the Government of People’s Republic of China and the Typhoon Committee” was signed by His Excellence, Mr. Li Jinjun, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to the Philippines and the Chairman of the Typhoon Committee. Dr. Prisco D. Nilo, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration on 7 December 2006 in Manila.
Another agreement designated as “Agreement between the Government of Macao Special Region of People’s Republic of china and the Typhoon Committee Regarding Administrative, Financial and Related Matters Arrangements for the Secretariat of the Typhoon Committee” was signed by Excellence the Secretary for Administration and Justice, Dra. Florinda Chan Dr. Prisco D. Nilo, Chairman of Typhoon Committee on 13 February 2007 in Macao. On the same day, the inauguration ceremony of the Typhoon Committee was held in the Office of TCS in Coloane, Macao. Through this Agreement, the government of Macao SAR provides the host facilities and an Endowment Fund for the operation of TCS and the seconded Meteorologist.
From 1977 to 1996, Japan provided the services of the Hydrologist and from 1997 to January 2001, the TCS Hydrologist is seconded by the Republic of Korea. China has agreed to provide the seconded Hydrologist to support the TCS who will commence his duty at the end of 2007.
The current TCS staff is composed of:
Secretary: Duan Yihong (Dr)
Senior Secretary: Denise Lau (Ms)
Finance Assistant: Lisa Kou (Ms)
Meteorologist: Clarence Fong (Mr)
Hydrologist: Jinping Liu (Mr)
DRR Expert: Michael Fu (Mr)
The Committee is supported by the Typhoon Committee Trust Fund (TCTF) which was set up in 1987 specifically to facilitate the implementation of its programmes. The TCTF was established with annual contributions of US$12,000 from each Member.
Finally, it must be noted that the Committee was the pioneer inter-governmental body of its kind. It succeeded beyond expectations and in emulation of its success, four other similar organizations were set up in as many tropical cyclone basins around the world.