For SBSTA 36, the GCOS secretariat provided a brief update on matters emerging from the 2010 updated
GCOS implementation plan and related GCOS activities(FCCC/SBSTA/2012/MISC.4), addressing,
inter alia, the future preparations of a third adequacy report and new GCOS implementation plan,
recent regional initiatives of the GCOS secretariat, and the publication of an update of the
Satellite Supplement to the 2010 updated GCOS implementation plan.
In addition, statements on developments relevant to systematic observation were delivered by
representatives of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Global Climate Observing System
(GCOS) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
At SBSTA 33, the GTOS was invited to report to SBSTA 35 on progress made on a number of matters
realting to climate-related terrestrial observations. At SBSTA 35, the GTOS secretariat provided a
summary of progress (FCCC/SBSTA/2011/MISC.14),
indicating that the report invited by the SBSTA 33 would be submitted to SBSTA 36. However, this
report was not available for SBSTA 36.
SBSTA 36 took note of the view of Parties and the progress made in developing draft conclusions under
this agenda item, and agreed to continue consideration of research and systematic observation at
SBSTA 37 on the basis of the draft text contained in the annex II of FCCC/SBSTA/2012/2.
COP 17 (Durban, South Africa, November-December 2011)
COP 17 adopted decision 11/CP.17
containing guidance to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), forwarded by SBI 35, requesting the GEF
to, inter alia, continue to provide financial resources to developing countries for
strengthening existing and, where needed, establishing national and regional systematic observation
and monitoring networks under the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund.
SBI 34 and 35 (Bonn, Germany, June 2011 and Durban, South Africa, November-December
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
paragraph 7(a)(iv) fall within its mandate (for activities referred to here see paragraph 230 of
• 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
• 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,
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
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 resources.
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
which was welcomed by the SBSTA.
SBSTA 31 also welcomed the information on the outcome of World Climate Conference-3 (
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 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 by GCOS).
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.
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 WMO.
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
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
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 that programme.
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
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 FCCC/SBSTA/2007/16.
SBSTA 27 also received an updated proposal for UNFCCC reporting guidelines on climate change
observing systems (FCCC/SBSTA/2007/MISC.26)
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
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 (see FCCC/SBSTA/2008/MISC.11).
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 30 (Bonn, June 2009), expressed its appreciation for the following reports:
- Report on progress with the GCOS implementation plan (FCCC/SBSTA/2009/MISC.7);
- 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.