WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo addresses UN journalists

18 January 2024

Adapting to the changing climate is not a choice but an essential necessity, said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Celeste Saulo as she laid out her priorities at an introductory media briefing at the United Nations in Geneva.

"We stand at the intersection of inequality and climate change, and our strategies must reflect the urgency of the times," she said. 

Prof. Saulo, who took office on 4 January 2024 as WMO’s first female and Latin American Secretary-General as WMO’s first female and Latin American Secretary-General, addressed Palais des Nations journalists during a series of engagements with the UN and diplomatic community.

Journalists are key in the battle against disinformation and climate change denialism, she said, noting that the rampant spread of misinformation and disinformation rates as one of the top risks in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2024.

Environmental risks - extreme weather, critical changes to Earth systems and biodiversity loss - are regarded as the top three risks in the longer term, according to the Global Risks Report published for the annual Davos meeting.  

The common thread running through all these risks is the climate crisis.

In the realm of climate action, the Sustainable Development Goals are WMO’s guiding stars.

A woman takes a picture of a woman in front of a podium.
UNOG press briefing with Alessandra Vellucci, Director of the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), and Prof. Celeste Saulo, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), on January 16, 2023.

"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,"  Prof. Saulo told journalists.

“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," she said.

The 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 by the end of 2027.

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, she said.

"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," she said.

Please see Prof. Saulo’s remarks and the UNTV video