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The World Meteorological Organization has appointed Pavel Kabat as its first chief scientist and research director. He will lead the overall strategic direction of the WMO science, and its underlying research activities, including the World Climate Research Programme, the World Weather Research Programme and WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch, which monitors greenhouse gas concentrations, air quality and the ozone layer.
In his role, he will maintain close interactions with WMO Members, partners, and sponsoring organizations to ensure that their strategies and priorities are reflected in WMO programmes. Kabat will also be responsible for building strategic research partnerships and coordinating active dialogue between science and operations, and promoting measures to ensure a more integrated research effort across all WMO activities. He is also expected to further advance WMO contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda.
Professor Kabat is director general and chief executive officer of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), an independent, international, science, and science-to-policy institute. IIASA has seen substantial growth in its activities under Kabat’s leadership, and now has 23 member countries, nearly 400 international staff, and a global research network of around 3,000 scholars and over 800 partner institutions. He is also a professor of Earth System Science at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
“WMO is in the process of strengthening its interaction with weather, climate, water and related environmental science communities. The appointment of first chief scientist is emphasizing that,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
“Pavel Kabat will be a great asset for WMO and its Members. His high calibre scientific and leadership skills as well as his global networks will contribute to the future success of WMO in serving its Members and advancing the global agenda on sustainable development, climate change mitigation and adaption, and disaster risk reduction”.
Trained as a mathematician and hydrologist, Professor Kabat’s almost-30-year research career has covered earth system science and global change, with a specific focus on land-atmosphere interactions, climate hydrology, the water cycle, and water resources.
Kabat added, “I am delighted to join the WMO after nearly 7 years leading IIASA. I hope to bring my experiences from IIASA on systems thinking to this new position. I also look forward to work on further building bridges between water and climate issues by actively bringing science and policy partners together. I also hope that this will trigger more collaboration between IIASA and the WMO.”
Professor Michael Clegg, Chair of the IIASA Council commented “We congratulate Pavel on his appointment. We are very grateful for his leadership of IIASA over the last 6 years when he guided IIASA through a period of exceptional growth.”