Argentine Celeste Saulo appointed World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General

The Director of Argentina’s National Meteorological Service will be become the first woman to hold the position

Prof. Celeste Saulo will be the first female World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General. Credit: World Meteorological Organization

Professor Celeste Saulo, Director of Argentina’s National Meteorological Service since 2014, was today appointed secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the first woman to ever hold the position. Saulo, 59, will take office on 1 January 2024 in place of Petteri Taalas, who completed his two-term mandate. 

The World Meteorological Organization is a specialized United Nations agency responsible for promoting international cooperation on atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology and geophysics.

Saulo secured the position after obtaining the required two-thirds majority votes from delegates at the World Meteorological Congress, the top decision-making body of the 193-Member WMO, which takes place once every four years. 

“In these times when inequality and climate change are the greatest global threats, the WMO must contribute to strengthening Meteorological and Hydrological Services to protect populations and their economies, providing timely and effective services and early warning systems,” Prof. Saulo said in a WMO press release.

Saulo, who got her PhD in Meteorological Science from the University of Buenos Aires in 1996, is currently WMO first vice-president, in addition to her . Her involvement with the WMO began in June 2015, when she was elected as a member of the WMO Executive Council. In April 2018, she was elected second vice-president.

Her research has been key for better understanding the South American Monsoon System, and the associated patterns of precipitation and circulation during the warm season. In the last few years, she deepened her activity on interdisciplinary problems such as wind energy production, agricultural applications, and early warning systems.

President Alberto Fernández was among those who congratulated Saulo. “Argentine science continues to be recognized around the world. (Saulo) will be the first woman to lead this UN agency, a key player in the struggle against climate change. So proud!,” he tweeted. 

Saulo’s candidacy to become WMO secretary-general was backed by the Argentine government in a presentation last April led by Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero and Defense Minister Jorge Taiana. 

“My ambition is to lead the WMO towards a scenario in which the voice of all Members is heard equally, prioritizing those most vulnerable and in which the actions it undertakes are aligned with the needs and particularities of each of them,” said Saulo in a statement issued at the time. 


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