UAE weather chief wins presidency of World Meteorological Organisation

Dr Abdulla Al Mandous, director general of the National Centre of Meteorology, will help lead the global weather authority over the next four years

Newly-elected World Meteorological Organisation secretary general, Celeste Saulo, with new president, Abdulla Al Mandous. Photo: AFP
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The UAE's weather bureau chief has vowed to help guide global efforts to combat pressing climate challenges after securing the presidency of the World Meteorological Organisation.

Dr Abdulla Al Mandous, director general of the National Centre of Meteorology, will lead the UN agency for a four-year term until 2027, and is the first Gulf meteorologist chosen for the position.

He was elected by representatives of WMO's 193 member states and territories which has convened in Geneva for the body's 19th annual congress.

“It is my great honour to be elected as the President of WMO and serve the global weather and climate community in this role,” said Dr Al Mandous.

“I extend my gratitude to the Member States for their trust and confidence in my capabilities to guide and co-ordinate WMO’s activities in this era of changing climate.

“With the continued support of all members, I look forward to building upon the remarkable work of my predecessors and strengthening WMO's role in accelerating the development of comprehensive early warning systems, advancing scientific research, and ensuring the effective dissemination of weather-related information to communities around the world.”

Dr Al Mandous said that his focus will on “enhancing the resilience of nations to weather and climate-related hazards” as well as “promoting knowledge-sharing and increasing the recognition and understanding of WMO’s specialised work”.

He said: “With the collective efforts of Member states, I am confident that WMO will continue to play a vital role in shaping the global meteorological agenda, promoting sustainable development, and fostering international co-operation in the face of increasing weather-related challenges.”

A leading weather expert

Dr Al Mandous has enjoyed a distinguished 30-year career in meteorology and climate science.

During his time at the NCM he has overseen a major modernisation of the country’s meteorological and seismological networks.

He led the NCM’s efforts to establish the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science, presided over the centre's pioneering cloud seeding initiative and contributed to the development of the Arabian Peninsula integrated radar observing system.

Dr Al Mandous has served UAE’s permanent representative to the WMO and president of its regional association, covering Asia.

The WMO acts as the global authority on weather, climate and environmental issues.

He will begin his presidency by chairing the body's Executive Council session in Geneva next week.

Driving green agenda on road to Cop28

Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al-Jarman, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations, said the appointment highlighted the nation's commitment to protecting the planet ahead of crucial environment talks at Cop28 in Dubai later this year.

“His [Dr Al Mandous] election to this prestigious position in a year when the UAE is hosting Cop28 and marking the Year of Sustainability is a great opportunity for the country to demonstrate to the world its unwavering commitment to leading collective global action to tackle the pressing challenges facing our planet.

“Given his long-standing expertise and visionary approach to delivering WMO’s mission, we are confident that Dr Al Mandous will utilise his dynamic leadership style to help the Organization achieve its strategic objectives.”

Dr Al Mandous will seek to accelerate efforts to achieve UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres's aim that “every person on the earth is protected by early warning systems in the next five years”. He will also aim to bolster the world’s resilience to extreme weather and climate events.

Updated: August 11, 2023, 9:35 AM