On 18 December, Ambassador Katrin Saarsalu-Layachi met with Petteri Taalas, the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Membership of the WMO comprises national meteorological offices and Estonia has conducted close cooperation with the organisation through the Environment Agency. The aim of the meeting was to make contact through the Estonian mission in Geneva, discuss future cooperation on climate and innovation as well as the priorities of our Presidency of the UN Security Council. The ambassador emphasised that climate was an increasingly important topic in Estonia’s foreign policy and debates around the effect of climate change on international security would be a consistent theme throughout our non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council.
Petteri Taalas was previously the long-time head of the Finnish Meteorological Institute and fondly remembered his cooperation with the Estonian Weather Service and Environment Agency. Cooperation with Estonia goes back a long time and it is good to note that the Estonian Weather Service has reached the excellent level of the Nordic countries. Karin Saarsalu and Petteri Taalas also discussed cooperation possibilities with the WMO during Estonia’s UN Security Council membership in New York, and after the membership in Geneva and Tallinn. The role of the WMO is to encourage discussions on climate issues based on scientific evidence and facts, which is also very important for Estonia.
Petteri Taalas also spoke about the reforms currently underway in the WMO, and the use of artificial intelligence and automation in weather forecasts. In the course of reforms at the WMO, a closer cooperation has been established with the private sector and academia, while the number of administrative posts has been reduced, certain tasks have been automated, and efforts are being made to hire young promising experts and scientists.