Argentina’s Prof. Celeste Saulo has made history as the first female and first South American Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Prof. Saulo was appointed on 1 June 2023 at the quadrennial World Meteorological Congress, the top decision-making body of the 193-Member WMO. She succeeds Prof. Petteri Taalas of Finland who completed his two-term mandate. She assumed office on 1 January 2024.
Until, her recent appointment, Saulo was Director of the National Meteorological Service of Argentina since 2014 and a former First Vice-President of WMO.
In her new role, she is expected to guide the WMO towards its vision of a world where all nations, especially the most vulnerable, are more resilient to extreme weather, climate, water and other environmental events, as well as spearhead the WMO activities to transform science into the best possible services for society.
This includes strengthening observations and data exchange necessary for reliable and accessible weather forecasts, benefiting from massive advances in artificial intelligence, and expanding Early Warning Services to protect everyone on Earth.
Speaking on her appointment, she said, “Coming from the Global South, I’m acutely aware of the need to do more to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable. I am highly motivated to help every National Meteorological and Hydrological Service achieve its mission to save lives and livelihoods.
“Most of these services have the experience, knowledge and passion to fulfil their mandate, but many lack the resources to do so. Even a small increase in investment leverages huge socio-economic benefits for our communities.”
Prof. Saulo is expected to also seek to consolidate WMO’s monitoring and research of climate change indicators and impacts in order to inform decision-making on mitigation and adaptation, including through a new pioneering Global Greenhouse Gas Watch initiative.
“Climate change is the greatest global threat of our times, and increasing inequality exacerbates its impacts. We just lived through the warmest year on record and 2024 may be even hotter and more extreme once the full impact of the ongoing El Niño plays out on temperatures and weather events,” she said.