The GURME project arose in response to the requests for assistance by many National Meteorological Services (NMSs) dealing with urban issues, and in recognition that the management of urban environments requires special attention. The genesis of the project began in the Twelfth World Meteorological Congress (1995) where it was determined that meteorological and climatological aspects of urban environments should receive increased attention within WMO programmes. In response, the Executive Council added the field of the urban atmospheric environment to the terms of reference of the EC Panel of Experts/CAS Working Group on Environmental Pollution and Atmospheric Chemistry. A meeting of Experts on Atmospheric Urban Pollution and the Role of the National Meteorological Services was convened in Geneva in October 1996 to help define issues and needs and to plan for future WMO activities related to urban environments.