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Research
 

Recent and earlier sessions

Research and systematic observation has been a regular and separate agenda item of the SBSTA since its seventeenth session (October 2002).

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 research dialogue;

• 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 Add.1), including 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 16/CP.17).

For the full text of the SBSTA 35 conclusions on research and systematic observation, see FCCC/SBSTA/2011/5, paragraphs 34-49.

Activities relevant to research and systematic observation during the Durban sessions
 1 Dec 2011

Side event on funding for climate observations

 2 Dec 2011

Side event on updates on climate change science, with special focus on Africa

SBSTA 34

 SBSTA 34 events on research and systematic observation

 Date

 Title of event

 Report

 Additional information

2-3 June  2011 

Workshop on research

Available for SBSTA 34 as FCCC/SBSTA/2011/INF.6

Submissions from Parties:
FCCC/SBSTA/2010/MISC.12 and FCCC/SBSTA/2011/MISC.1
Information on the themes of the workshop and the dialogue:
FCCC/SBSTA/2011/INF.1

8 June
2011

Research dialogue meeting

Delivered by the Chair at the SBSTA closing plenary 

Updates by research programmes and organizations:
FCCC/SBSTA/2011/MISC.4

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 themes:

•  Understanding the science: Recent climate change research findings and uncertainty management;
•  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 UNFCCC.

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.  


SBSTA 33

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.

SBSTA 32

Meetings under the SBSTA research dialogue in the context of pdf-icon decision 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 capacity-building activities;
  • 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 the public;
  • 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 the GFCS;
  • 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.



Earlier sessions
 

Since 2002,  the SBSTA has regularly considered priority areas of research and questions for the scientific community relevant to the Convention (views of Parties as well as a synthesis on this issue are contained in FCCC/SBSTA/2002/MISC.15 and Add.1, and FCCC/SBSTA/2002/INF.17).  During SBSTA 17 (New Delhi, October/November 2002), research priorities for the scientific community were discussed during a special side event on 28 October 2002, which benefited from the participation of representatives from international programmes and organizations (World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme (IGBP), International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), the IPCC, International Group of Funding Agencies for global change research (IGFA), International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP)).

At a second special side event at SBSTA 20 ( Bonn, June 2004), Parties and representatives of international research programmes exchanged views on research conducted in response to the recommendations of the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC.  Parties were invited to submit their views on how the main issues arising from that side event could be adequately addressed (see FCCC/SBSTA/2004/MISC.14 and FCCC/SBSTA/2005/MISC.5, and FCCC/SBSTA/2005/3 containing a synthesis of those views). 

At SBSTA 22 (Bonn, May 2005), Parties welcomed efforts of the national, regional and international global change research programmes to further promote and coordinate research in response to the needs of the Convention and invited them to provide periodic updates on their scientific activities.  It asked Parties to submit information on identified research needs and priorities relating to the Convention and requested the secretariat to organize a special side event during SBSTA 24 with the aim of enhancing communication between climate change research programmes and organizations and the SBSTA.

COP 11 (Montreal, November/December 2005), by its pdf-icon decision 9/CP.11, recognized the importance of scientific research in meeting the needs of the Convention and requested Parties to identify research needs and priorities to support the implementation of the Convention.  It also requested the SBSTA to regularly consider research needs relating to the Convention in order to inform Parties about ongoing and planned activities of regional and international climate change research programmes, and to communicate Parties’ views on research needs and priorities to the scientific community, as necessary.  To this end, the COP invited the research programmes and organizations to consider research needs, as viewed by Parties and communicated through the SBSTA, and to inform the SBSTA on how these programmes and organizations are addressing those research needs. 

At SBSTA 24 (Bonn, May 2006), Parties considered a synthesis report of the research needs and priorities relating to the Convention (see FCCC/SBSTA/2006/INF.2), which included information on research needs and priorities identified in various documents including submissions by Parties received prior to SBSTA 24 (see FCCC/SBSTA/2006/MISC.3 and Add.1). 

Also at SBSTA 24, the secretariat organized a special side event on research needs relating to the Convention with the aim of enhancing communication between climate change research programmes and the SBSTA.  This side event benefited from the participation of regional and international climate change research programmes and organizations who informed participants on their current activities to address the research needs of the Convention, including on-going efforts to enhance the capacity and participation of developing countries in climate change research.  In addition, representatives from a number of Parties provided information on their research activities and needs from a national perspective.  In response to the special side event, the participating research programmes and organizations provided brief summary reports on the information provided during the event, including identification of any gaps in their research programmes with regard to the needs of the Convention (see FCCC/SBSTA/2006/MISC.15). 

The SBSTA also identified a need for enhancing two-way communication and cooperation between the Parties and regional and international climate change research programmes, and agreed to explore how it might facilitate a more effective dialogue between Parties and these programmes.  To this end, Parties and relevant research programmes and organizations provided their views (see FCCC/SBSTA/2007/MISC.7 and FCCC/SBSTA/2007/MISC.8) for consideration at SBSTA 26 (May 2007).  To further facilitate the development of the dialogue, the SBSTA asked the secretariat to organize a meeting for an informal discussion among Parties with the participation of regional and international climate change research programmes and the IPCC. 

As mandated, the secretariat organized during SBSTA 26 an informal discussion on a more effective dialogue between Parties and regional and international climate change research programmes and organizations in the context of pdf-icon decision 9/CP11.  The meeting provided a platform for Parties and representatives of research programmes and organizations and the IPCC to exchange views on how the SBSTA might facilitate a more effective dialogue between Parties and the research community. 

The SBSTA also agreed to establish and maintain the dialogue on research needs under the Convention between Parties and climate change research programmes and organizations, and invited relevant programmes and organizations to regularly inform the SBSTA of developments in research activities relevant to the needs of the Convention, (see FCCC/SBSTA/2007/4, para. 47 (a-f)) including :

  1. Emerging scientific findings;
  2. Research planning activities, including those undertaken in response to key uncertainties and research needs identified by the IPCC or raised by Parties;
  3. Research priorities, and gaps in the implementation of these priorities;
  4. Research capacity-building activities, particularly in developing countries;
  5. Regional climate change research networks;
  6. Relevant communication issues.

To this end, it requested the secretariat to invite relevant research programmes and organizations to consider the above issues in an informal discussion at SBSTA 28.

SBSTA 28

In response to the invitation by SBSTA 26 to regularly provide information (see FCCC/SBSTA/2007/4, para. 47(a-f)), the ESSP - on behalf of its member programmes - the IAI and the APN provided summary information on a number of issues related to developments in research activities relevant to the needs of the Convention as identified during SBSTA 26 (see FCCC/SBSTA/2008/MISC.8 and Add.1).  Furthermore, the secretariat invited relevant research programmes and organizations and the IPCC to an informal discussion with Parties on developments in research activities relevant to the needs of the Convention, during which representatives from the research programmes and organizations and the IPCC outlined information on their activities in response to the issues identified by SBSTA 26, including on emerging scientific findings. For more information see ‘Research dialogue’.

The SBSTA emphasized the usefulness of continuing and further enhancing the research dialogue between Parties and regional and international climate change research programmes and organizations that is taking place in the context of pdf-icon decision 9/CP.11 on research needs relating to the Convention,  including though broadening the participation of relevant regional research organizations. 

It requested the secretariat to prepare, prior to SBSTA 30, a list of international and regional programmes and organizations active in areas of research relevant to climate change.   

The SBSTA further agreed to allow further in-depth consideration of the activities identified by SBSTA 26 (FCCC/SBSTA/2007/4, para. 47(a-f)) during future dialogue meetings under the SBSTA and invited the research programmes and organizations to continue to provide information pertaining to these activities at the thirtieth and subsequent sessions of the SBSTA. 

SBSTA 30

The research dialogue held during SBSTA 30 (3 June 2009) constituted a major event under the research theme.  It allowed for further in-depth consideration of the following developments in research activities relevant to the needs of the Convention (see FCCC/SBSTA/2007/4, paragraphs 47 (a-f)).

Information on these matters was also provided prior to the session by relevant regional and international climate change research programmes and organizations (see FCCC/SBSTA/2009/MISC.5).

Following consideration of information provided and its deliberations during SBSTA 30, the SBSTA:

  • Affirmed the valuable role of the research dialogue in providing new scientific information and noted its importance for informing deliberations within the UNFCCC process;
  • Invited the research programmes and organizations to continue to provide information pertaining to their relevant activities (see FCCC/SBSTA/2007/4, paragraphs 47 (a-f));
  • Encouraged research programmes and organizations to:
    • continue to enhance the understanding of climate change, and to address key uncertainties identified in the IPCC AR4;
    • enhance efforts towards greater integration of climate-related research across all disciplines;
    • enhance their activities relating to developing countries;  
  • Encouraged Parties and research programmes and organizations to enhance their existing efforts to build capacity for research in developing countries, in particular those aimed at supporting adaptation efforts (e.g. under the Nairobi work programme);

Noted the importance of research and systematic observation in underpinning the Convention and invited the AWG-LCA to note a need to strengthen such research and systematic observation, especially in developing countries and relevant to adaptation.

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