16 May 2003 A French national has been named the next chief of the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Countries meeting in Geneva for the fourteenth World Meteorological Congress appointed Michel Jarraud yesterday evening to a four-year term as Secretary-General of the WMO. He will succeed current chief Godwin O.P. Obasi of Nigeria on 1 January 2004.
In his acceptance message, Mr. Jarraud highlighted many future challenges, including natural disaster prevention and mitigation, the affect of climate change, the development of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) as well as hydrology and water resources.
Before joining WMO in January 1995 as Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Jarraud worked at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).
Established as a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1951, WMO facilitates international cooperation in the establishment of networks of stations for making meteorological, hydrological and other observations, and to promote the rapid exchange of meteorological information, the standardization of meteorological observations and the uniform publication of observations and statistics.
The 187-member Organization also furthers the application of meteorology to aviation, shipping, water problems, agriculture and other human activities, promotes operational hydrology and encourages research and training in meteorology.