Director General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute Petteri Taalas has been appointed Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Institute (WMO) for the term from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2019.
"The appointment of a Finn for the post of Secretary-General will heighten Finland's international visibility and stature in the UN. It will open up new opportunities to influence the WMO's activities. The appointment will also benefit Finnish companies specialising in climate, water and weather issues, R&D activities and the authorities", said Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini.
“Petteri Taalas’s appointment as the Secretary-General of a UN organisation is a significant achievement for Finland. This demonstrates that Finnish top expertise is in high regard internationally and illustrates the extensive, high standard work carried out by the Finnish Meteorological Institute both internationally and nationally,” Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner commented.
The election of the WMO Secretary-General was held at the World Meteorological Congress on 4 June 2015. A total of 154 votes were cast during the election of which Petteri Taalas received 117. The appointment required a two-thirds majority of the votes. The candidates in the election were from South Africa, India, Russia and Finland.
“My objective as Secretary-General will be to develop the WMO’s activities so that they meet with the needs of Member States and Territories even better than previously and to support the work carried out by national meteorological institutes. National meteorological institutes are now operating in an increasingly challenging operating environment, where global phenomena such as climate change or the readiness requirements related to extreme weather phenomena apply to everyone,” Taalas said after the appointment.