The WMO has relocated its African Regional Office to the African continent for the first time, opening it in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The move was marked by an official ceremony on October 16, attended by WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas and the Ethiopian minister for Water, Irrigation and Energy, Seleshi Bekele.
Prior to the move the office had been at WMO headquarters in Geneva. The formal handover ceremony was the end of a process that began a year ago with the signing of a Host Country Agreement.
Ethiopia was selected as the host country in part because Addis Ababa is already a strategically important location in the region since it serves as the political capital of the African Union and as the host to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
The current location of the regional office is temporary and it will eventually be housed in the new headquarters of Ethiopia’s national meteorology agency, set to open by 2022. Taalas thanked the Ethiopian government for hosting the regional office while stressing the important role it will play.
“The office is expected to play key roles in enhancing the capacities of national meteorological and hydrological services, including Ethiopian, to provide timely, reliable and accurate weather-, climate- and hydrology-related services, products and information to stakeholders in climate-sensitive sectors and for efficient service delivery,” said Taalas.