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Systematic observation

Worldwide systematic observation of the climate system is a key prerequisite for advancing scientific knowledge on climate change. The Convention calls on Parties to promote and cooperate in systematic observation of the climate system, including through support to existing international programmes and networks, as indicated in Articles 4.1(g) and 5 of the Convention. A key dimension for the implementation of those Articles has been the cooperation with the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) secretariat of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and other agencies participating in WMO's Climate Agenda. more >>

COP 5 urged Parties to address deficiencies in climate observing networks. It also invited all Parties to provide detailed reports on systematic observation in line with the reporting guidelines on global climate observing systems (as part of their national communications for Annex I Parties and on a voluntary basis for non-Annex I Parties).

Later on, by decision 11/CP.13 (refers to page 45) on Reporting on global observing systems for climate, the COP adopted revised UNFCCC reporting guidelines on global climate change observing systems and decided that these revised guidelines should take effect for the preparation of detailed technical reports on systematic observation in accordance with the provisions of decisions 4/CP.5 and 5/CP.5.  The decision further requests Annex I Parties to continue providing such reports in conjunction with their national communications.

For the latest national communications from Annex I Parties, including technical reports on systematic observation, see here

SBSTA 39 and Outlook to SBSTA 40


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SBSTA 39 and Outlook to SBSTA 40

The following information was made available to SBSTA 39


For full conclusions see FCCC/SBSTA/2013/L.25

In brief, the SBSTA noted with appreciation the information provided by WMO on developments regarding implementation of the GFCS, and by GCOS on its recent and planned activities. It also welcomed the contributions of Working Group I to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. The SBSTA emphasized the continued need for funding on a long-term basis and the importance of systematic observation for the UNFCCC process at large. It noted that there are still gaps in critical observational data, including for the oceans, and in networks in some parts of the world, especially developing countries. The SBSTA affirmed the importance of, inter alia, climate monitoring, and urged Parties and relevant organizations to enhance capacity, collaboration and coordination efforts. The SBSTA also noted that a workshop, in close collaboration with GCOS and its sponsors, could help in identifying ways to strengthen systematic observation and related capacities in developing countries.

During  SBSTA 39 / COP 19, a side event was held to provide a Dialogue with the systematic observation community on activities relevant to the Convention, more>>

SBSTA 40 will address matters related to research

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