SBI 34 and 35 (Bonn, Germany, June 2011 and Durban, South Africa, November-December 2011)
SBI 34, under its agenda item 5(c) Financial mechanism of the Convention - Other matters, considered the
invitation by SBSTA 33 to discuss the funding needs for global climate observations and to explore how
further support could be provided to strengthen observation networks and capabilities in developing
countries. The SBI also noted the information on additional funding needs identified in the 2010 updated GCOS
implementation plan. Following this consideration, SBI invited the following information to be provided
for consideration at SBI 35:
• Response by the GEF to clarify in its annual report to COP 17 whether activities in decision
5/CP.7, paragraph 7(a)(iv)
fall within its mandate (for activities referred to here see paragraph 230 of document FCCC/CP/2011/7);
• Submissions by Parties on support provided to developing country Parties and activities
undertaken to strengthen existing and, where needed, establish national and regional systematic observation
and monitoring networks (see FCCC/SBI/2011/MISC.6 and
• Compilation by the secretariat on information provided by Parties in their submissions referred
to above and from national communications from Annex I Parties (see FCCC/SBI/2011/INF.10).
SBI 35 took note of the information provided, including the clarification by the GEF that its mandate
under the Least Developed Countries Fund and Special Climate Change Fund covers the activities identified in
decision 5/CP.7, paragraph
SBI 35 recommended that COP 17 requests that the GEF under these two instruments continues to provide
financial resources to developing countries to strengthen and establish national and regional systematic
observation and monitoring networks (see FCCC/SBI/2011/17,
SBSTA 35 (Durban, South Africa, November-December 2011)
SBSTA 35 focused mainly on matters related to the research dialogue.
With regard to systematic observation, the SBSTA took note of the summary of progress by the GTOS
secretariat on the development of methodologies, standards and protocols for climate-related terrestrial
observations and related matters (see FCCC/SBSTA/2011/MISC.14),
provided in response to an invitation by SBSTA 33. SBSTA agreed to consider this information, in
conjunction with any further updates received from GTOS on this matter, as well as matters related to the
GCOS, at SBSTA 36 (see FCCC/SBSTA/2011/5,
The SBSTA also noted with appreciation the statement by the WMO on progress towards the implementation of the
Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), and recognized the GFCS as an important initiative to underpin
science-based adaptation and to support countries in meeting the challenges of climate variability and
change. The SBSTA invited WMO to continue to provide information on progress in the implementation of the
GFCS at future SBSTA sessions (see FCCC/SBSTA/2011/5,
paragraphs 45 and 46).
SBSTA 33 (Cancun, Mexico, December 2010)
SBSTA 33 welcomed the following reports:
Statements delivered by representatives of GCOS, GTOS, GOOS and on behalf of CEOS were noted with
SBSTA urged Parties to work towards full implementation of the updated GCOS implementation plan. GCOS
secretariat was invited to report on progress made in this regard at regular basis.
SBSTA also urged Parties to support development of terrestrial standards and improving terrestrial networks
in close cooperation with GTOS, and invited GTOS to report on progress in the development of methodologies,
standards and protocols for climate -related terrestrial observations and related matters at SBSTA 35.
SBSTA encouraged Parties to continue cooperation through CEOS, including through responding to the
needs identified in the GCOS implementation plan. CEOS was invited to provide, by SBSTA 37, an updated
report on progress made on major achievements.
Following its consideration of the information provided in the GCOS implementation plan related to additional
funding requirements for meeting the essential needs for global climate observations, SBSTA urged Parties in
a position to do so to provide support needed to strengthen observation networks and capabilities in
developing countries. SBSTA invited SBI to consider these funding needs at SBI 34 and also invited
AWG-LCA to consider these funding needs in the context of the future financial architecture.
Issues of relevance to systematic observation were also under consideration under other agenda items, such as
under the Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate
change. In particular, SBSTA 33 had before it the outcomes from a technical workshop on
how regional centres and networks undertaking work relevant to climate change could collaborate (Samoa, 2-5 March 2010).
COP 15 (Copenhagen, December 2009) adopted a decision on Systematic climate
observations, which inter alia:
Urges Parties and invites relevant United Nations agencies and international organizations to
work towards addressing the priorities and gaps identified in the report on progress with the GCOS
Implementation Plan (FCCC/SBSTA/2009/MISC.7), in particular the implementation of the regional action plans
that were developed during 2001-2006, and ensuring sustained long-term operation of essential in situ
networks, especially for the oceanic and terrestrial domains, including through provision of the necessary
Encourages Parties in a position to do so to support sustaining climate observations over the
long term in developing countries (especially in LDCs and SIDS);
Invites GCOS to update, by SBSTA 33, the GCOS Implementation Plan, taking into account emerging
needs in climate observation, in particular those relating to adaptation activities;
Encourages GTOS to implement the framework for the preparation of guidance materials, standards
and reporting guidelines for terrestrial observing systems for climate, as a joint terrestrial framework
mechanism between relevant agencies of the UN and ISO;
Encourages the CEOS to continue coordinating and supporting the implementation of the satellite
component of the GCOS;
Urges Parties that support space agencies involved in global observations to enable continued
implementation of actions identified in the updated report of the CEOS (FCCC/SBSTA/2008/MISC.11),
in order to meet the relevant needs of the Convention, in particular by ensuring long-term continuity of
observations and data availability.
For the full text of the COP decision on Systematic climate observations, see here.
COP 15 further noted with appreciation the outcome of World Climate Conference-3 (Geneva, 31 August to 4
September 2009) organized by the WMO and its partner organizations, in particular the decision to establish a
Global Framework for Climate Services to strengthen the production, availability, delivery and application of
science-based climate prediction and services.
SBSTA 31 (December 2009) was provided with the provisional update of the GCOS implementation plan (FCCC/SBSTA/2009/MISC.12),
which was welcomed by the SBSTA.
SBSTA 31 also welcomed the information on the outcome of World Climate Conference-3 (
Geneva, 31 August to 4
September 2009), provided by WMO.
For the full text of the SBSTA 31 conclusions on research and systematic observation, see FCCC/SBSTA/2009/8,
SBSTA 30 (Bonn, June 2009), expressed its appreciation for the following reports:
- Report on progress with the
GCOS implementation plan
- A synthesis report on national information on systematic observations for climate (FCCC/SBSTA/2009/MISC.7/Add.1);
- A report on progress in assessing the status of the development of standards for essential climate
variables in the terrestrial domain (FCCC/SBSTA/2009/MISC.8);
- A report on progress made by space agencies involved in global observations in implementing actions in
response to the GCOS implementation plan (FCCC/SBSTA/2008/MISC.11).
Following consideration of the above reports, the SBSTA, inter alia:
- Noted the priorities stated in the GCOS progress report; and
- Invited GCOS to provide a provisional updated implementation plan in conjunction with a provisional
estimation of costs prior to COP 15.
For the full text of the SBSTA 30 conclusions on research and systematic observation, see FCCC/SBSTA/2009/3.
COP 13 in Bali (December 2007) adopted, by decision 11/CP.13, revised UNFCCC reporting
guidelines on global climate change observing system (FCCC/CP/2007/6/Add.2) to be used for the preparation of detailed reports on systematic
observations. Such reports are provided by Annex I Parties in conjunction with their national
communications and on a voluntary basis by non-Annex I Parties.
At SBSTA 29 (December 2008), the GTOS secretariat provided a report on progress in assessing the status of the development of
standards for essential climate variables in the terrestrial domain, including on the framework for
terrestrial climate-related observations (see FCCC/SBSTA/2008/MISC.12).
The CEOS provided an updated report on progress by space
agencies involved in global observations in implementing actions in response to the GCOS implementation plan
SBSTA 29 welcomed these reports and decided to defer their consideration to SBSTA
30 when it will also consider the comprehensive report on progress with the GCOS implementation plan to be
provided by the GCOS secretariat for that session.
SBSTA 18 (Bonn, June 2003) considered the state of the global observing systems for
climate, on the basis of the second adequacy report (“Second report on the adequacy of
the global observing systems for climate in support of the UNFCCC”, endorsed by SBSTA 15, prepared
COP 9 (Milan, December 2003) adopted a decision on global observing systems for
climate ( decision 11/CP.9). Among other
important issues, this decision calls for the preparation of an Implementation Plan for the Global
Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC (hereinafter referred to as the GCOS implementation plan) to be
coordinated by GCOS in collaboration with the ad hoc Group on Earth Observations (GEO). The decision further invites the sponsoring
agencies of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) to develop
a framework for the preparation of guidance materials, standards and reporting guidelines for terrestrial
observing systems for climate.
The GCOS implementation plan was
submitted to and endorsed by COP10 (Buenos Aires, December 2004) in decision 5/CP.10. The COP requested the GCOS
secretariat to provide information to the SBSTA as required, at subsequent sessions, on how the actions
identified in the implementation plan are being implemented.
In this regard, SBSTA 21 (Buenos Aires, December 2004) invited the GCOS
secretariat, in conjunction with the GCOS sponsoring agencies, to prepare a synthesis report on how actions
identified in the implementation plan have been incorporated in the plans and actions of the GCOS sponsoring
agencies. A report on this matter (FCCC/SBSTA/2005/MISC.14) was provided by the GCOS to SBSTA 23.
At SBSTA 22 (Bonn, May/June 2005), Parties welcomed the report on progress made
towards implementing the initial ocean climate observing system and the final report on the analysis of data exchange
in global atmospheric and hydrological networks provided by the GCOS secretariat in consultation with the
SBSTA 22 also welcomed the endorsement of the 10-year Implementation Plan at the
third Earth Observation Summit (February 2005) which establishes the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) as an important development in
systematic observation to contribute to the enhancement of climate change research, as well as the continuing
contribution of the GCOS to this process.
SBSTA 23 (Montreal, December 2005) welcomed the following reports received in
response to earlier mandates:
SBSTA 23 expressed a number of requests to related agencies and Parties in regard to the GCOS implementation
plan, regional workshop programmes and observational needs, including:
- Inviting the GTOS secretariat to report on the progress in developing a framework for the
preparation of guidance materials, standards and reporting guidelines for terrestrial observing systems for
climate by SBSTA 26 (May 2007) and to assess the status of the development of standards for each of the
essential climate variables in the terrestrial domain.
- Requesting the GCOS secretariat to provide a comprehensive report on progress with the GCOS
implementation plan at SBSTA 30 (June 2009).
- Inviting Parties to submit to the secretariat, by 15 September 2008, additional information on their
national activities with respect to implementing the GCOS implementation plan.
- Inviting the GCOS secretariat to submit to the SBSTA a proposal on ways and means to address the needs
for consideration of the revision of the “UNFCCC reporting guidelines on global climate change
observing systems” at SBSTA25.
- Inviting the GCOS secretariat, in cooperation with the Regional Workshop Advisory Committee, to report on
the results of the programme at SBSTA 25.
At SBSTA 25 (Nairobi, December 2006) Parties considered a proposal for the possible
revision of the “UNFCCC reporting guidelines on global climate change observing system”
provided by the GCOS secretariat. The SBSTA agreed to further consider revised guidelines at SBSTA 27
with a view of recommending revised guidelines for adoption by COP 13.
SBSTA 25 also received the report on the results of the GCOS regional workshop programme (FCCC/SBSTA/2006/MISC.13)
and encouraged advancing implementation of the actions outlined in the regional action plans produced under
Furthermore, the SBSTA welcomed the report by the CEOS on the coordinated response by space agencies involved
in global observations to the needs expressed in the GCOS implementation plan (FCCC/SBSTA/2006/MISC.14)
and asked for continuation of such efforts.
At SBSTA 26 (Bonn, June 2007), the secretariat of the GTOS submitted two progress
reports in response to previous mandates by the SBSTA, one on the development of a framework for the
preparation of guidance materials, standards and reporting guidelines for terrestrial observing systems for
climate, and one on the assessment of the status of the development of standards for each of the essential
climate variables in the terrestrial domain (FCCC/SBSTA/2007/MISC.6).
In addition, the GTOS secretariat provided progress reports on both issues for consideration at SBSTA
At SBSTA 27 (Bali, December 2007), Parties welcomed the progress reports by
the GTOS secretariat on the assessment of the status of the development of standards for essential climate
variables in the terrestrial domain and on the framework for the preparation of guidance materials, standards
and reporting guidelines for terrestrial observing systems for climate (FCCC/SBSTA/2007/MISC.27). The
SBSTA encouraged the GTOS secretariat and the sponsoring agencies of GTOS to continue their work, taking into
account a number of criteria in the further development of the framework. The SBSTA invited the GTOS
secretariat to report on progress to SBSTA 29. For the full text of the SBSTA 27 conclusions see
SBSTA 27 also received an updated proposal for UNFCCC reporting guidelines on climate change observing
by the GCOS secretariat, based on comments received by scientific and government experts. Following
consideration of that proposal, Parties recommended a draft decision containing revised UNFCCC reporting
guidelines on global climate change observing systems for adoption by COP 13.