COP 17 (28 November - 9 December 2011, Durban, South Africa)
COP 17 adopted decision 16/CP.17 on
the research dialogue on developments in research activities relevant to the needs of the Convention,
which inter alia:
• Recognizes the progress made in the implementation of decision
9/CP.11 and the
success of the activities undertaken under the research dialogue; as well as the continued
importance of the IPCC in conducting regular assessments of published scientific information;
• Expresses appreciation to the regional and international research programmes and
organizations active in climate change research, and the IPCC, for their participation and
continued provision of information on developments in research activities in the context of the
• Decides that the research dialogue should continue;
• Urges Parties and invites regional and international research programmes and organizations
to utilize the dialogue as a forum to discuss needs for climate change research and
research-related capacity building, particularly those of developing countries; and to convey
research findings and lessons learned from activities by research programmes and organizations,
which are of relevance to the Convention.
SBSTA 35 (28 November - 3 December 2011, Durban, South Africa)
SBSTA considered matters related to research, as agreed at SBSTA 34, including views submitted by
Parties on the research dialogue (FCCC/SBSTA/2011/MISC.8 and
on ongoing activities, associated modalities and ways to enhance the dialogue.
The SBSTA agreed that the research dialogue should continue on a regular basis, with the next
research dialogue to take place at SBSTA 36, and invited Parties to submit their views on specific
themes to be addressed. SBSTA also referred to the progress made in the implementation of decision
9/CP.11 and successful activities undertaken in the context of the research dialogue, including the
workshop organized in conjunction with SBSTA 34, and recalled its conclusions from SBSTA 34 relevant
to possible further workshops.
SBSTA also concluded that information on technical and scientific aspects of emissions and removals
of GHGs from coastal and marine ecosystems, such as mangroves, tidal salt marshes, wetlands and
seagrass meadows would be considered as a theme for the next research dialogue, taking into account
information on this matter submitted by Parties and relevant research programmes and
organizations active in climate change research, including marine research, and taking into
account views on other specific themes to be submitted by Parties. The SBSTA also noted that
there are other important ecosystems with high-carbon reservoirs, such as steppe, tundra and
peatlands. SBSTA 36 may consider the need for a workshop to give in-depth consideration to the themes
considered in the research dialogue.
SBSTA recommend a draft decision on the research dialogue for adoption by COP 17 (see decision
For the full text of the SBSTA 35 conclusions on research and systematic observation, see
FCCC/SBSTA/2011/5, paragraphs 34-49.
Prior to SBSTA 34, on 2-3 June 2011, the secretariat organized a workshop on research, with the
objective to consider in-depth the issues addressed in the research dialogue, as requested by SBSTA
32. The workshop also responded to the need to further enhance interaction between the science and
policy communities by strengthening the research dialogue between Parties and research
programmes and organizations. In addition, a regular SBSTA research dialogue meeting was organized
during SBSTA 34. The workshop and dialogue meeting were organized around the following three major
• Understanding the science: Recent climate change research findings and uncertainty
• Communicating climate change science; and
• Building capacity for research in developing countries.
SBSTA 34 noted the information provided in preparation for the research dialogue meeting and the
workshop, and noted the progress made in the implementation of decision 9/CP.11 through
establishment and maintenance of the research dialogue. The SBSTA appreciated that the events under
the research dialogue enjoyed broadened participation by organizations, programmes and agencies
active in climate change research.
SBSTA welcomed the report on the workshop and noted that it included information on emerging research
outcomes since the publication of the IPCC AR4 that are of relevance to the UNFCCC, including on
ocean acidification, changes to the cryosphere, sea level rise and emissions scenarios.
SBSTA emphasized the need for improved communication and interaction between scientific community and
users of climate information in order to support adaptation and mitigation planning and activities,
and stressed the need to enhance the availability of research findings from developing
countries. It encouraged research programmes and organizations to include information on
developing country scientists’ participation in climate change research when reporting to the
SBSTA also emphasized the need to further enhance the relevance of the research dialogue and linkages
with other areas of the UNFCCC process, and the value of promoting the outputs of research through
activities undertaken under Article 6 of the UNFCCC, particularly in developing countries.
The secretariat was invited to continue to support the research dialogue, subject to the availability
of resources. Activities may include organization of further workshops upon agreement by the SBSTA,
and enhancing the visibility of scientific information of relevance to the Convention on its website,
such as through a calendar of key science-policy meetings in collaboration with research programmes
and organizations, and the IPCC.
Parties were invited to provide their views on the research dialogue, including ongoing activities,
associated modalities and ways to enhance it, by 19 September 2011.
At SBSTA 33, the secretariat organized a side event on climate change research [link] to facilitate
the provision of updated information on emerging scientific findings and research outcomes by the
research programmes and organizations, in response to the invitation by SBSTA 32. Research
programmes and organizations also provided such information in written submissions, which are
contained in document FCCC/SBSTA/2010/MISC.15.
Meetings under the SBSTA research dialogue in the context of
9/CP.11 have established continuity and are taking place at regular intervals during
every second session of the SBSTA.
The research dialogue held during SBSTA 32 (3 June 2010) was enhanced from previous dialogues by
allowing more time for in-depth consideration by Parties of updates on emerging scientific findings
and developments provided by regional and international research programmes and organizations, and
with time devoted to presentations by Parties.
In addition to the presentations delivered during the research dialogue meeting, relevant information was also provided prior to
the session. Views of Parties on topics for discussion at SBSTA 32 research dialogue meeting
are contained in document FCCC/SBSTA/2010/MISC.4, and updates on developments in research activities relevant
to the needs of the Convention submitted by regional and international climate change research
programmes and organizations are included in document FCCC/SBSTA/2010/MISC.6.
SBSTA 32 recalled the valuable role that the research dialogue is playing in
informing deliberations within the UNFCCC process, and agreed that the dialogue should be continued
at SBSTA 34 and beyond.
In order to allow further in-depth consideration to be given to issues addressed in the research
dialogue, the SBSTA requested the secretariat to organize a workshop in conjunction with SBSTA 34 on
this matter. Parties were invited to provide to the secretariat, by 20 September 2010, their
views on this workshop.
The SBSTA also noted the need to further enhance interaction between the science and policy
communities by strengthening the research dialogue, and identified possible ways to enhance its
effectiveness. Parties were also invited to provide their views in this regard, including on:
- Better identification and communiction of research themes and topics of interest to policymakers;
- Greater opportunities for developing countries to present research results and related
- Further activities to share information;
- Identification of additional ways to communicate research outcomes and findings to Parties.
In its deliberations, the SBSTA also:
- Noted the challenges of communicating research results, including indication of level of
confidence and uncertainty, effectively to end-users and to a wider audience, including the media and
- Relevant to this challenge, welcomed the progress made in development of the Global Framework for
Climate Services (GFCS) under the WMO and its partner organizations;
- Invited the WMO to report, under the research dialogue, on progress made on the development of
- Recognized the need to engage observation programmes in the research dialogue; and
- Encouraged the enhancement of existing efforts by Parties and research programmes and
organizations to build research capacity in developing countries, including by strengthening research
at regional climate centres.
For the full text of the SBSTA 32 conclusions on research and systematic observation, see FCCC/SBSTA/2010/6, paragrapghs 42-54.