WMO Elects New Chief, Indian Nominee Loses Out

Shreerupa Mitra-Jha/Geneva
WMO Elects New Chief, Indian Nominee Loses Out

Finland's weather chief Petteri Taalas was today elected as the new Secretary General of World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) here, defeating India's nominee and two others for the top post.

Taalas, who is currently Director-General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, was elected with 117 votes in the final round, defeating his nearest Russian contender and present Assistant Secretary General of WMO Elena Manaenkova.

"The importance of WMO and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services is growing due to higher number of disasters hitting all parts of the world," Taalas said after being elected.

"Proper early warning services are essential in protecting human life and property. Scientific know-how for climate adaptation and water resource management are also crucially needed in several WMO Member countries. I am highly motivated to work for an effective and service oriented WMO," he said.

Taalas, 54, defeated Indian scientist and bureaucrat Shailesh Nayak besides candidates from Russia and South Africa and will take over from current Secretary General Michel Jarraud who will stand down at the end of this year after three four-year terms in office.

Nayak, 61, is presently secretary of India's Ministry of Earth Sciences. He is also the Chairman of Earth Commission in India.

The WMO is a specialised UN agency dealing with the state and behaviour of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, climate and the resulting distribution of water resources.

The WMO Congress, which meets every four years, is holding its 17th session and is now in its second week.

The session will conclude on June 12.

As on  January 1, 2013 it had a membership of 191 member states and territories.

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