The climate science community in Africa was shocked to learn of the sudden passing of Professor Laban Ayieko Ogallo on 20 November 2020 in Nairobi due to sudden illness.
When we think of his wise words of counsel, his patience, humility, and openness, it is easy to understand why those he spoke to were so deeply saddened by his death.
As a forerunner, a mentor and campaigner for meteorology, prof. Ogallo’s leadership in the region is greatly missed. Prof. Ogallo had a long and distinguished career that began in 1975 with a brief stint at the East African Meteorological Services. He then joined the meteorological department of the University of Nairobi, from where he was seconded in the role of secretary and chief executive of the Kenyan National Council for Science and Technology before joining the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) between 1996-2000. joined. In 2000, he was appointed project coordinator of the UN’s local drought monitoring center in Nairobi (DMCN). DMCN has grown under him into the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC). Prof. Ogallo was the founding director and led DMCN until 2014. In 2007, he was on the IPCC team of scientists that awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He returned to the Department of Meteorology at the University of Nairobi in January 2019 and retired in January 2020.
Following the African Climate Change Conference 2013 (ACC-2013) held in Arusha, Tanzania, the African Climate Change Brotherhood instructed the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the WMO to implement the CRM program (Climate Research for Development) to set up Africa’s climate research agenda. Prof. Ogallo was then elected by the CR4D board to sit on the scientific advisory committee. He fulfills this role with dedication, dedication and enthusiasm, and often mobilizes his peer-climate scientists in the region to participate in meetings and to enrich the climate research discourse in support of development.
As an elder and mentor, prof. Ogallo is remembered by the youth in the region as a motivating factor and role model for youth involvement in climate science, an issue he has advocated from early in his career. In 1982, he was awarded the WMO Award for Encouraging Young Scientists.
Prof. Ogallo was also a leading light in the development of a narrative and discourse in Africa. He was an avid participant in the African Climate Change and Development Conference (CCDA) and praised a majority of the events, where he often assumed speaking roles. In October 2016, he was indeed a natural choice to deliver the inaugural Professor Godwin Olu Patrick Obasi Memorial Lecture on Climate Information Services during the 5th CCDA Conference.
On behalf of the Department of Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management of UNECA, I extend my condolences to prof. Ogallo’s family, his professional colleagues and associates at this difficult time. May his soft soul rest in eternal peace.
Mr. Jean-Paul Adam
Director, Division of Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)