Celeste Saulo of Argentina won the World Meteorological Organization’s vote on Thursday to lead the organisation as its first female leader and direct its crucial global role in monitoring climate change.
The UN climate and weather agency’s congress in Geneva saw a resounding victory for Saulo, a WMO vice-president and the head of Argentina’s weather service since 2014.
Saulo, 59, will probably become a well-known spokesperson on this important global issue as the WMO’s role in climate change has grown in prominence.
Following her election, Saulo stated, “The WMO must help strengthen the meteorological and hydrological services to protect populations and their economies, providing timely and effective services and early warning systems. In these times, when inequality and climate change are the greatest global threats.
“My goal is to steer the WMO towards a situation where all members’ voices are heard equally, the most vulnerable are given priority, and the organization’s actions are in line with the requirements and unique characteristics of each member,” says the leader.
On January 1, she will replace Petteri Taalas, the departing secretary general. The maximum second four-year term for the Finnish meteorologist is about to expire.
International efforts to track greenhouse gases, sea levels, temperatures, glacier melt, and other indicators of climate change are consolidated by the WMO.
To measure important aspects of the atmosphere, land, and ocean, it uses thousands of weather stations and satellites.
– First line of defence
The general assembly of the 193 member states and territories of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which takes place every four years, included the leadership election on the penultimate day.
By the end of 2027, the congress, which convened on May 22, will have passed legislation requiring early warning systems to be available to everyone on Earth.
Given the growing impacts of melting sea ice, glaciers, and permafrost on sea level rise, it elevated the cryosphere, or frozen world, to the top of the agenda.
Additionally, a new initiative was approved that aims to improve global greenhouse gas monitoring by utilising a combined system of observations from both space and the surface of the earth.
The main objective is to represent the member nations and territories and bring their voice—the voice of the developing world, small island states, and the less developed world—as we all work to achieve our priorities, Saulo told AFP.
We will work to implement the important initiative of early warning for everyone.
“I have optimism. This outcome demonstrates that people have hope and that things can improve.
– ‘Pride’ of Argentina
Three other senior WMO officials were defeated in the election by Saulo, the director of the Argentinian National Meteorological Service.
They were the second deputy secretary-general in the current order, Russian-Swiss Elena Manaenkova; third, Chinese assistant secretary-general Zhang Wenjian; and second vice-president Albert Martis of Curacao.
On the first vote, Saulo received 108 votes, obtaining the necessary two-thirds majority. According to a diplomatic source, Zhang, who was her main rival, received 37.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez tweeted, “What pride! Argentina’s science continues to be recognised in the world.
Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero was quoted in a statement from Argentina’s foreign ministry as saying that Saulo “inspires us all with confidence” and that “for Argentina, the candidature is strategic, important, and relevant in the history of our country.”
According to Cafiero, she possessed “the proper professionalism and a vision.”
Saulo’s appointment, according to Amy Pope, the new head of the UN migration agency, was “good news,” she told AFP, citing other women leaders at the UN in Geneva who “are very focused, not on ego but on getting the work done.”
The newly elected director general of the International Organisation for Migration wants to direct her leadership towards addressing the factors that drive population movement in the twenty-first century, such as climate change.
Pope stated that the WMO would have crucial information that is pertinent to the work that we do. By cooperating, we could improve outcomes for more people.