WMO Congress Agrees on Post-2015 Priorities, Appoints New Secretary-General
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The 17th session of the World Meteorological Congress agreed on priorities for 2016-2019, adopting a new strategic plan and related budget.

The Congress also appointed a new Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, who will remain ‘Secretary-General emeritus,' reiterated that high-impact weather and climate extremes are likely to occur with greater frequency and intensity due to climate change, noting that while a window of opportunity still exists “to act and prevent irreversible damage,” it is closing fast.

WMO12 June 2015: The 17th session of the World Meteorological Congress agreed on priorities for 2016-2019, adopting a new strategic plan and related budget. The Congress also appointed a new Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, who will remain ‘Secretary-General emeritus,’ reiterated that high-impact weather and climate extremes are likely to occur with greater frequency and intensity due to climate change, noting that while a window of opportunity still exists “to act and prevent irreversible damage,” it is closing fast.

The Congress, which took place from 25 May to 12 June 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland, also committed to improve the WMO’s efficiency and effectiveness through continuously improving measures based on a strategic review of WMO structures, operating arrangements and budgeting practices.

The strategic plan outlines priorities for the post-2015 period, which relate to: disaster risk reduction (DRR); climate services to facilitate adaptation and sustainable development; capacity development of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to develop and improve human resources, technical and institutional capacities, and infrastructure; research and monitoring in polar and high mountain regions; aviation meteorological services; strengthened observing and information systems; a more cross-cutting urban focus; and an increased focus on marine weather activities.

WMO President David Grimes said that decisions taken at the Congress place the WMO in a “strong position to fully participate in the post 2015 international agenda.” The Congress approved a regular budget of 266,2 million Swiss Francs for 2016-2019, which represents a 2% increase over the 2012-2015 period.

Petteri Taalas, Director-General, Finnish Meteorological Institute, was appointed the next WMO Secretary-General for a four-year mandate beginning 1 January 2016. Jarraud, who has served the maximum three terms as Secretary-General, will remain ‘Secretary-General emeritus’ in recognition of his services to WMO. He stressed that investments in NMHSs is great will lead to major socioeconomic benefits.

The World Meteorological Congress is the supreme body of the WMO, assembling every four years to, inter alia: determine general policies to achieve the purposes of the organization; consider WMO membership; establish and coordinate the activities of WMO constituent bodies; approve long-term plans and budget for the following financial period; elect the WMO President and Vice-Presidents and members of the Executive Council; and appoint the WMO Secretary-General. [WMO Press Release] [17th World Meteorological Congress Website]


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