The Convention calls on Parties to promote, and cooperate in,
research and systematic observation of the climate system, including through support
to existing international programmes and networks (see Articles 4.1(g) and 5).
In doing so, the Convention commits Parties to cooperate to improve the capacities
of developing countries to participate in research and systematic observation.
A key dimension to the implementation of these Articles has
been cooperation with the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) of the World
Meteorological Organization (WMO) and other agencies participating in WMO's Climate
Agenda. COP 3 (Kyoto, December 1997) and COP 4 (Buenos Aires, November 1998) both
adopted decisions supporting GCOS and its partner agencies, and urging Parties
to engage fully with their work.
At its fifth session (Bonn, October/November 1999), the COP
adopted decision 5/CP.5, inviting the GCOS Secretariat, in consultation with the
GEF and others, to organize regional workshops to identify priority capacity-building
needs to enhance the participation of developing countries in systematic observation.
The COP also urged Parties to address deficiencies in climate observing networks,
and to put forward specific proposals to this end. In addition, the COP adopted
on global climate observing systems, and invited Parties to provide detailed
reports on systematic observation as part of their national communications (on
a voluntary basis, in the case of non-Annex I Parties). In this respect, the COP
invited the secretariat, in conjunction with the GCOS Secretariat, to develop
a process for synthesizing and analysing the reports submitted by Parties.
Secretariat reported to the SBSTA on its activities in response to decision
5/CP.5 at SBSTA 12 (June 2000) and also SBSTA 13 part II (meeting together with
COP 6 in The Hague, November 2000), where it provided a written report. These
activities have included the organization of regional workshops in the South Pacific
and Africa. At SBSTA 13 part II, Parties also welcomed information provided by
Australia on a supplementary reporting format to the UNFCCC reporting guidelines
on global climate observing systems. The SBSTA urged Parties to consider this
information when preparing their national communications.