Climate change research focuses on a wide range of topics such as earth sciences, climate processes and
system, climate variability, climate modelling and prediction; climate change impacts, vulnerabilities,
risks, extreme events, adaptation and mitigation. It covers a broad spectrum of sectors, society,
economies and ecosystems, as well as cross-cutting and interdisciplinary research.
The UNFCCC secretariat works in close collaboration with a variety of international and regional research
programmes and organizations active in climate change-related research (see External Resources) and facilitates dialogue
and communication on the research needs and priorities expressed by Parties of the Convention to the
The Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) has a well established role in the Convention process in communicating scientific
information to the Convention through its regular assessment reports and its wide range of special reports
and technical papers. Although it does not carry out its own research, it plays a key role in assessing the
information from worldwide climate research in peer-reviewed literature, journals, books and other sources.
It also has an important function in identifying priority needs for further research activities.
In addition, Parties regularly report on their national and cooperative research activities and their
contributions to climate science, as well as emerging research needs and priorities, in their national communications.
The foundation for the research dialogue was given in decision 9/CP.11 (FCCC/CP/2005/5/Add.1) on
research needs relating to the Convention, which stipulated an enhanced communication between Parties and the
scientific community, and requested the SBSTA to regularly consider research needs and systematic observation
relating the Convention. The objective of such communication is two-fold:
- To inform Parties about on-going and planned activities of regional and international climate change
research programmes and organizations, and
- To communicate Parties' views on research needs and priorities to the scientific community.
In response to this request, the SBSTA initiated a dialogue on research needs under the Convention between
Parties and regional and international climate change research programmes and organizations. At SBSTA 26 (see
FCCC/SBSTA/2007/4, para 47(f)), it was agreed to develop and maintain such dialogue in the
context of decision 9/CP.11, and relevant research programmes and organizations were invited to regularly
inform the SBSTA of developments in research activities relevant to the needs of the Convention, including:
emerging scientific findings, research planning activities, research priorities and gaps, research capacity
building activities particularly in developing countries, regional climate change research networks and
relevant communication issues
Decision 16/CP.17 (FCCC/CP/2011/9/Add.2) urges
Parties, in particular developing country Parties, and invites regional and international research programmes
and organizations active in climate change research to utilize the research dialogue as a forum for:
- Discussing needs for climate change research and research-related capacity-building, particularly those
of developing countries, to support the work of the Convention;
- Conveying research findings and lessons learned from activities undertaken by regional and international
research programmes and organizations of relevance to the Convention.