Speech to the UN Geneva press briefing (including video)

16 January 2024

Dear friends from the media,

I am very happy to stand before you today as the new Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization. 

I am happy to be here, not for me as a person, but because humanity is facing one of its most complex challenges – climate change, of course.

From the bottom of my heart, my wish is that we will face this challenge together, as a global family, bound by a shared responsibility, a vision for the future of our children, and a common purpose.

Over the next years, we have an opportunity, a duty, and a possibility, to shape the narrative on climate action. This is about empowering nations, fostering inclusivity, and creating sustainable pathways for a shared prosperity.

We are not mere observers; we are architects of a sustainable future. International cooperation was largely born here in Geneva, and this is an amazing tool to tackle the challenges of our time, as our forefathers and foremothers did before us.

To make a true impact, we must intensify our support to regions and countries, especially those grappling with developmental challenges. If we are a family, no member should be left behind. Our support should enable nations to be key players in shaping climate agendas at all levels.

In the realm of climate action, the Sustainable Development Goals are our guiding stars. We stand at the intersection of inequality and climate change, and our strategies must reflect the urgency of the times. Our commitment to reducing inequality and development gaps is unwavering. We will prioritize regional and on-the-ground initiatives, ensuring innovation reaches every member, especially those with a relatively lower degree of development.

Adapting to the changing climate is not a choice but an essential necessity. It's about building resilient communities, especially in the most vulnerable regions, capable of resisting to, and recovering from, climate-related disasters.  Early warning systems will be the linchpin in disaster risk reduction, transforming threats into opportunities for sustainable development. Under my leadership, we will fortify early warning systems, enhance data accessibility, and make science and timely, life-saving information accessible to all.

The overarching 'Early Warnings for All' initiative is committed to ensuring that every person on Earth has access to timely, authoritative, and life-saving weather and climate risk information.

Recognizing that adaptation must go hand in hand with mitigation, WMO’s Global Greenhouse Gas Watch aims at providing a comprehensive and accurate overview of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Understanding the impacts of human activity is crucial for developing innovative solutions, including the advancement of renewable energy, across all countries and regions.

In our pursuit of common objectives, international cooperation, accessible financial mechanisms, collaboration between science and education, public-private partnerships, inter-institutional agendas and other processes are not simply beneficial, but essential.

We will forge stronger ties with United Nations organizations and bodies, development agencies, governments, the civil society, the scientific community, the private sector, and of course – last but certainly not least – the media!

Ladies and gentlemen,
As you know, the World Economic Forum is happening this week in Davos. The WEF just released its Global Risk Report. What are the most threatening risks in the world today?  The rampant spread of misinformation and disinformation; the growing severity of extreme weather events; and global economic downturns.

These threats are interlaced, creating a complex web of challenges that demand our immediate and decisive action. Most of the action happens here in Geneva, behind the scenes, and ripples throughout the world. To address these gigantic challenges, we need you, the media, to deliver reliable scientific information to the people. We need you to interpret what is coming our way. We need your loyalty and your professionalism so people can better understand our world and how it goes. 
We need you to help us tackling disinformation and fake news.

I am very much looking forward to embarking on this journey with you all. It will not be an easy road, but if we have strength and determination, we will ride it, for our global family, and for generations to come.

Thank you.

Celeste Saulo's speech at the UN press briefing, 16 January 2024 (UNTV video recording)


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Celeste Saulo, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization
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