Press release archive: 2013

The first Weather, Climate and Sea Award granted to President Tarja Halonen

17.1.2013 8:30

President Halonen's meritorious contribution was recognised at the 175th anniversary celebration of the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Photo: Veikko Somerpuro

Photo: Veikko Somerpuro

Climate change and weather-related natural disasters are responsible for increasing economic and human losses the world over. “President Tarja Halonen has actively promoted the themes associated with adaptation to and mitigation of climate change,” said Director General Petteri Taalas at the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s 175th anniversary event, when presenting the award to President Halonen.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute established the award in its anniversary year to underscore the importance of weather impacts, climate change and seas in society and to recognise the work of people who have contributed actively to these themes. In the face of climate change, more frequently occurring extreme weather events, and society’s increasing sensitivity to weather, there is a need for both internationally and nationally active players and cooperation between various sectors.

In August 2010 President Halonen was appointed to lead the UN High-level Panel on Global Sustainability. She co-chaired the panel with Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa. The panel’s assignment was to investigate sustainable development especially from the perspective of climate change. Among other things, the panel was to explore issues associated with green, low-carbon economy, reduction of poverty and sustainable consumption. The panel was also given the task of studying whether international structures and funding should be revised to promote sustainable growth. The panel continued to work until the end of 2011, when it presented its final report and recommendations to the UN Secretary-General.

As part of its development cooperation efforts, Finland has actively contributed to the development of advance warning systems for extreme weather events and natural disasters in less developed countries. This is also of prime importance in adaptation to climate change. The Finnish Meteorological Institute is among the world’s leading actors in this field.

President Halonen also launched so-called ‘Presidential Forums’ with themes such as climate change, the Arctic region, the Baltic Sea and sustainable development. Moreover, she headed the Finnish delegation to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. For the last few years, President Halonen has acted as the patron of the Sustainable Development Summits held annually in India and has played a pivotal role in the international Koli Forums promoting the management of natural resources in the forest sector.

Henceforth, the Finnish Meteorological Institute will grant the award for work done for weather, climate and seas once a year.

Additional information:

Communications Manager Nina Kukkurainen, puh. 050 598 8242