April 2008

World Meteorological Day 2008

World Meteorological Day this year was celebrated around the theme: “Observing our planet for a better future”, in recognition of the scientific and socio-economic benefits derived by WMO Members and their National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) from the expanded, wide-ranging and authoritative observations made in the context of WMO’s mandated activities in weather, climate and water.

The choice of theme is particularly timely in view of the WMO Integrated Global Observing System and WMO Information System initiatives currently underway.

R. Pachauri
Celebrations at the WMO Secretariat this year took place on 25 March. After a welcome address by the Secretary-General, a presentation was made by the guest speaker, Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) entitled “Climate change: harnessing knowledge towards a better future”. It focused on the human-induced impacts of climate change and projections of future climate challenges if concerted efforts are not made to reverse the situation The IPCC, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, together with Al Gore Jr, is co-sponsored by WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Ibrahim Osman, deputy secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, also addressed the ceremony, saying his Organization was greatly concerned with the humanitarian consequences of climate change. (See article in this issue “Climate change is a humanitarian challenge”.)

Paul Munden, Director of the National Association of Writers in Education, United Kingdom, introduced a photo exhibition “Four elements in Nature”, interspersed with poems on climate change (See feature article "Clear as mud: Why art and science are both in the mix").

WMO produced a kit for the occasion, containing a brochure, a poster and a message from the Secretary-General, as well as a film (all in English, French, Russian and Spanish). The kit may be obtained from the WMO Secretariat upon request. All the materials, together with the presentation by Dr Pachauri, are available online on the dedicated World Meteorological Day Website.

Earlier in the day, the Secretary-General, Michel Jarraud, told reporters at a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva that more investment was needed in boosting meteorological and hydrological capacities, particularly in developing countries, to enable the world to better manage and respond to extreme weather events and the effects of climate change.

Each year, on 23 March, WMO—the Secretariat and its 188 Members—and the worldwide meteorological community celebrate World Meteorological Day. This Day commemorates the entry into force, on that date in 1950, of the WMO Convention creating the Organization. Subsequently, in 1951, WMO was designated a specialized agency of the United Nations System. See article in this issue “The Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology jointly celebrates its centenary and World Meteorological Day”.

Press release

SG’s presentation


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