Chronology - Systematic Observation
SBSTA 41 consider matters related to systematic observation. For conclusions see FCCC/SBSTA/2014/5
(paragraphs 33-42). The SBSTA reemphasized the importance of systematic observation for the
UNFCCC process at large and the continued need to secure funding to meet the essential needs
for national, regional and global climate observations under the Convention on a long-term
The following information was made available:
- Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) report on progress made in the implementation of
the 2010 updated GCOS implementation plan, as requested by SBSTA 33 (FCCC/SBSTA/2010/13 , paragraph 45)
- Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) updated report on progress made by space
agencies providing global observations in their coordinated response to relevant needs of the
Convention, as requested by SBSTA 37 (FCCC/SBSTA/2012/5 , paragraph 41)
In February 2015 in Bonn, Germany, the GCOS secretariat, in collaboration with the IPCC
and the UNFCCC secretariat, will organize a workshop to identify ways to
enhance systematic observation and related capacity, especially in developing countries, to
support preparedness and adaptation in a changing climate. (FCCC/SBSTA/2013/5,
paragraph 48 and FCCC/SBSTA/2014/L.19, paragraph 6)
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO) information on the outcome of the second session
of the Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services, held in November 2014, as requested
by SBSTA 39 (FCCC/SBSTA/2013/5 , paragraph 43)
COP19 / SBSTA 39, 11-22 November 2013, Warsaw, Poland
SBSTA 39 Research and systematic observation.
The World Meteorological Organization
(WMO) provided information on the outcome of the first session of the
Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services, held in July 2013.
WMO submission to SBSTA 39
WMO also provided Voluntary views on Subsidiary
Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) (Adaptation, Development and
transfer of technologies and implementation of the Technology Mechanism, Research and
systematic observation and Issues relating to agriculture).
Key Messages of the WMO community for COP
WMO Key Messages in all UN
The secretariat of the Global Climate Observing System
(GCOS) reported to the SBSTA on progress made in the implementation of the 2010 updated
GCOS implementation plan.
GCOS submission to SBSTA 39
These submission are also available here.
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.
For full conclusions see FCCC/SBSTA/2013/5,
13 November 2013
UNFCCC Side Event at COP 19: Dialogue with the
systematic observation community on activities relevant to the
26 November - 1 December 2012, Doha, Qatar
SBSTA 37 continued its consideration of reserach and systematic observation on the
basis of the draft text from SBSTA 36. With regard to research, the SBSTA:
- Requested the secretariat to organize a workshop by SBSTA 39, subject to the
availability of financial resources, to consider information on the technical and
scientific aspects of ecosystems with high-carbon reservoirs not covered by other agenda
items under the Convention, such as coastal marine ecosystems, in the context of wider
mitigation and adaptation efforts. To this end, Parties are invited to submit, by 25 March
2013, their views on the content of that workshop.
For the full text of the SBSTA 37 conclusions on research and systematic observation, see
FCCC/SBSTA/2012/L.25 and Add.1.
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
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 document FCCC/CP/2011/7);
- 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
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
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
SBSTA 33 welcomed the following reports:
Statements delivered by representatives of GCOS, GTOS, GOOS
and on behalf of CEOS were noted with appreciation.
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
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
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 financial
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
COP 15 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
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
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
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
SBSTA 31 (December 2009) was provided with the provisional update of the GCOS
implementation plan (FCCC/SBSTA/2009/MISC.12),
which was welcomed by the SBSTA.
SBSTA 31 also welcomed the information on the outcome of World Climate Conference-3 (
31 August to 4 September 2009), provided by WMO.
For the full text of the SBSTA 31 conclusions on research and systematic observation, see
SBSTA 30 (Bonn, June 2009)
SBSTA 30 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
- 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
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.
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
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 (FCCC/SBSTA/2007/MISC.27). The
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 13.
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 27.
At SBSTA 25 (Nairobi, December 2006) Parties considered a
proposal for the possible revision of the “UNFCCC reporting guidelines on global
climate change observing system” (FCCC/SBSTA/2006/MISC.12)
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
SBSTA 25 also received the report on the results of the GCOS regional workshop programme
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
and asked for continuation of such efforts.
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
- 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
- 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 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 process.
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.
COP 9 and 10
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.
The GCOS implementation plan was submitted to and endorsed by COP 10 (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.
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).
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