Godwin Olu Patrick Obasi (1933-2007), Nigeria

Godwin Olu Patrick Obasi (1933-2007), Nigeria

Secretary-General from 1 January 1984 to 31 December 2003

Professor G.O.P. Obasi was the first member of the Secretariat to be so appointed as Secretary-General and the first African to be appointed head of a UN body.

After a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Physics (1959) from McGill University, Canada, and an MSc and PhD in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, he joined the National Meteorological Service of Nigeria. Four years later, he left to join the University of East Africa (which became the University of Nairobi), where he became Chairman of the Department of Meteorology and Dean of the Faculty of Science.

In 1978, he joined the WMO Secretariat as Director of Education and Training.

Most notable achievement under his leadership:

  • WMO convened the Second World Climate Conference (WCC) in Geneva in 1990, following which the UN General Assembly created the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • UNEP and WMO initiated the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the secretariat of which is hosted by WMO.