Implementation of systematic observation is supported through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), Joint Working Group on Climate (WG Climate) of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS), and other partners and relevant organizations.

Partners provide a range of important inputs to the UNFCCC process and implement mandates, as requested by SBSTA and/or the COP:

The WMO supports the UNFCCC through a wide range of scientific and technical inputs, including annual GHG bulletins and Statements on the State of the Global Climate . Its Members monitor the Earth's atmosphere, land and oceans, through the  WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS). A subset of WIGOS is used by GCOS for climate observations.

GCOS provides its status reports and implementation plan (GCOS IP) to the UNFCCC. GCOS specifies 54 Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) that are key for sustainable climate observations. ECV datasets provide the empirical evidence needed to understand and predict the evolution of climate, to support evidence-based decision-making on climate change and to manage associated risks.GCOS are currently developing a GCOS strategy.

The GCOS IP describes the proposed implementation of the global observing system for climate, building on current actions and taking into consideration the climate monitoring needs of the Convention in the context of the Paris Agreement, sustainable development and other multilateral agreements. It sets out the framework for the science community to provide the data and information to implement the global climate observing system, advance scientific research knowledge and support climate services and the development of climate indicators.

The CEOS/CGMS WGClimate provide the Space Agency Responses to the GCOS Implementation Plans, most recently at SBSTA 47 (2017). WGClimate have provided the global Architecture for Climate Monitoring from Space, including the ECV inventory providing characterisation of over 900 satellite Climate Data Records (CDRs) that directly respond to GCOS ECV requirements.


The ongoing implementation cycle of assessments, plans and reports from CEOS, GCOS, IPCC and WMO, guided by decisions and conclusions from the COP, SBI and SBSTA.


Following the IPCC Second Assessment Report (SAR 1995), COP asked SBSTA in 1997, in consultation with the IPCC, to provide an adequacy report (1998) on the global observing system on climate, which was prepared and delivered by GCOS in 1998. See Decision 14/CP.4.


After the IPCC third assessment report (TAR 2001), GCOS provided its second adequacy report (2003) to SBSTA. The COP asked GCOS to provide an implementation plan (IP 2004). See Decision 11/CP.9 and Decision 5/CP.10.

The CEOS response to the IP 2004 lead to the Satellite Supplement to the implementation plan (2006).


Following the IPCC fourth assessment report (AR4 2007), GCOS provided the progress report to SBSTA 31 (2009).  See Decision 9/CP.15.

GCOS subsequently provided an update to the GCOS Implementation Plan (IP 2010) and an updated Satellite Supplement (2011);


Following the IPCC fifth assessment report (AR5 2013-2014), GCOS submitted the GCOS Status Report (2015) to COP 21, which incorporates updates and reviews from CEOS and a large range of other contributors and fed into the new GCOS Implementation plan (IP 2016) - See Decision 19/CP.22. GCOS report regularly on their implementation plan to SBSTA.

SBSTA have invited WMO to provide annual GHG bulletins and Statements on the State of the Global Climate.

The CEOS/CGMS WG Climate provided the Space Agency Response to the GCOS Implementation Plan at SBSTA 47 (2017), and SBSTA invited them to regularly report on progress.

All documents referred to above are available from relevant documents from partners.

A downloadable list of mandates by COP, SBI and SBSTA is available here: Informal compilation of all mandates on systematic observation


National Communications and systematic observation

Parties provide information on research and systematic observation in their National Communications, including detailed technical reports on the status of their national systematic observation in line with the guidelines in decision 11/CP.13, and in consideration of the latest GCOS Implementation plan with its updated list of ECVs.

The negotiations to date include:

At COP 5, the COP invited all Parties to provide detailed reports on systematic observation in line with 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.

At COP 11, by decision 11/CP.13 (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 guidelines be used for the preparation of detailed technical reports on systematic observation in accordance with the provisions of decisions 4/CP.5 and 5/CP.5. Annex I Parties provide these reports as part of their national communications.

At SBSTA 33, the SBSTA encouraged Parties when preparing their national communications to take into consideration the new requirements identified in the 2010 updated GCOS implementation plan, in particular the new essential climate variables (ECVs). The SBSTA noted that any future revision of relevant UNFCCC reporting guidelines, in particular those on global climate change observing systems, should take into account the new elements identified in that plan (see FCCC/SBSTA/2010/13 paragraph 44).