|Volume 57 (3) — July 2008
News from the WMO Secretariat
The Secretary-General, Michel Jarraud, recently made official visits to a number of Member countries as briefly reported below. He wishes to place on record his gratitude to those Members for the kindness and hospitality extended to him.
United States of America
On 28 March 2008, the Secretary-General visited Washington DC with the President of WMO to attend a ceremony for the presentation of the 52nd IMO Prize to Jagadish Shukla at the US National Academy of Sciences. The event was chaired by James L. Kinter III, Director of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies. Also present were Ralph J. Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences; John L. Hayes, NOAA Deputy Assistant Administrator and Permanent Representative of the United States with WMO; Alan G. Merten, President of George Mason University; and a number of other distinguished scientific and academic figures.
Mr Shukla had already received the Sir Gilbert Walker Gold Medal of the Indian Meteorological Society, the Rossby Medal of the American Meteorological Society and NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, among other notable awards.
The Secretary-General visited Addis Ababa between 31 March and 2 April 2008 to participate in the first session of the Joint Annual Meeting of the African Union Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and the UN Economic Commission for Africa Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
During the high-level thematic debate, Mr Jarraud stressed climate-change impact risks in the area of food security, in particular for Africa, and WMO’s role in facilitating adaptation to this vital issue.
On 28 and 29 April 2008, the Secretary-General visited Bern to participate in the spring 2008 session of the United Nations Chief Executives Board for Coordination. The session was chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and gathered the heads of UN System organizations and programmes to address a number of key issues, which included, in particular, food security and climate change.
On 6 May 2008, the Secretary-General visited the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in Reading to participate in the opening of the World Modelling Summit on Climate Prediction. The Summit, which was jointly organized by WMO’s World Weather Research Programme, the WMO co-sponsored World Climate Research Programme and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, brought together some of the world’s leading scientists with the objective of developing a new strategy for climate prediction.
Mr Jarraud gave a presentation entitled “Reducing the risk associated with climate and severe weather through enhanced prediction—the need for international cooperation”.
United Nations New York
The Secretary-General visited New York from 13-16 May 2008 to participate in the 16th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-16).
He participated in the High-Level Segment of the session and the Closed Ministerial Meeting, where he underscored the relevance of WMO in a number of key thematic issues of CSD-16, in particular: agriculture, rural development, drought, desertification and Africa. He also made a presentation at the UNEP-hosted side event “Agriculture and environment: climate change and policy recommendations”.
The Secretary-General visited Athens on 29 May 2008 to represent WMO at the International Conference on Climate Change and Human Security, where he addressed the issue “Climate change: a challenge to human security”.
On this occasion, Mr Jarraud met with HE Ms Dora Bakoyannis, Minister of Foreign Affairs; HE Mr Georgios Souflias, Minister for Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works; His Eminence, John Metropolitan of Pergamon; and John Powell, Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme.
The Secretary-General gave a keynote presentation at the 28th session of the Conference of the Insurance Association of the Caribbean, held in Curacao from 1 to 3 June 2008.
In the course of his presentation, “Natural hazards, risks and asset protection: a WMO perspective”, Mr Jarraud referred to some of the major issues that are relevant to natural hazards, risks and asset protection, particularly natural disaster risk reduction, underscoring the benefits provided by multi-hazard early warning systems.
The Secretary-General visited Warsaw on 4 June 2008 to deliver a keynote presentation at the high-level segment of the 38th International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) World Farmers’ Congress. Mr Jarraud’s presentation addressed the issue “Global warming and the impacts of changing weather patterns on food and agricultural production”.
The Secretary-General met with several government dignitaries, including HE Mr Waldemar Pawlak, Deputy Prime Minister; HE Mr Marek Sawicki, Agricultural Minister; and HE Ms Jolanta Fedan, Social Policy Minister; as well as Jack Wilkinson President of IFAP; and David King, Secretary General of IFAP.