Chief Scientists and Research Director, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Switzerland
1st September 2018 marks appointment of Professor Kabat as the first Chief Scientists and Research Director at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) of the United Nations.
In WMO, Professor Kabat is leading 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 is maintaining close interactions with WMO Members, partners, and sponsoring organizations to ensure that their strategies and priorities are reflected in WMO programmes. He is 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. His mandate also includes further advancing of WMO activities in contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda.
Pavel Kabat was Director General and the Chief Executive Officer of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) from February 2012 to September 2018, responsible for the formulation, management, and administration of all research programs and other activities at IIASA. IIASA has seen substantial growth in its membership and activities under his 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.
Professor Kabat is a full professor (on a special leave) of Earth System Science at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Founding Chair and Director of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and Arts Institute for Integrated Research on the Wadden Sea Region (the Wadden Academy). He is also a member of the Leadership Council for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and was the Co-Founder of the high-level Alpbach – Laxenburg Group. The latter brings global leaders from academia, governments, businesses, and civil society together to support and advocate for sustainable transitions and sustainable development.
Trained as a mathematician and hydrologist, Professor Kabat’s more than 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.
He is an author and coauthor of over 300 refereed publications (including 9 books), a member of 3 international editorial boards, and (co)editor of numerous special issues of peer-reviewed international journals. He has also contributed as lead author and review editor to the assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
At a ceremony on 25 June 2018, at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, Professor Kabat was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class. The award is conferred by the Federal President of the Republic of Austria and recognizes leading figures who have “gained universal recognition and a distinguished reputation for their outstanding achievements in the field of science or art”.
In 2013, Professor Kabat was honored by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix Knight with the Order of the Netherlands Lion, a national order of chivalry founded in 1815 by King William I, which recognizes excellence in the arts, science, sport, and literature.
Other academic and societal awards and distinctions received by Professor Kabat include the Zayed International Prize for the Environment, and several honorary degrees, professorships, memberships, and distinguished fellowships internationally.