The Integrated Global Observing Strategy must demonstrate its added value by identifting what it can contribute that cannot be achieved through existing national and international mechanisms. Ultimately, IGOS will be judged by whether it enables better observations to be derived in both a more cost-effective and more timely fashion. 

Basic principles of an IGOS are that it should:

provide a framework for a coherent set of user requirements so that providers can respond to them;

be an overarching strategy for global observations, allowing those involved in their collection to improve their contributions, and to make better decisions in the allocation of their resources to meet their own priorities, by taking advantage of better international collaboration and coordination;

facilitate the most effective use of the resources available for global observations, directing them to the priority needs to upgrade existing or establish new systems;

provide a framework for decisions intended to provide long term continuity and spatial comprehensiveness for key observations;

provide a framework for decisions that will result in the scientific research needed to improve understanding of Earth processes;

build upon the strategies of existing international Global observation programmes and focus additional efforts in areas where satisfactory international arrangements and structures do not currently exist;

build on existing international structures that successfully contribute to current global observations rather than create a centralized decision-making organization;

provide Governments with improved understanding of the need for Global observations through the presentation of an overarching view of current system capabilities and limitations;

be helpful in efforts to reduce unnecessary duplication of observations;

provide opportunities for capacity building and assisting countries to obtain maximum benefit from the total set of observations;

stimulate the creation of improved high level products by facilitating the integration of multiple data sets from different agencies and national and international organizations;

identify situations where existing international arrangements for the management and distribution of key global observations and products could be improved;

assist the transition of systems from research to operational status through improved international cooperation.

In striving to respond to these principles, contributions to an IGOS should provide:

long term continuity of measurement for key variables;

adequate data archiving and access capability for all data sets;

consistency of data quality where there are disturbances to the record, e.g. due to new technology;

sufficient ancillary data to enable users to judge the data quality.

IGOS Homepage  Earthwatch Homepage

Maintained for IGOS by UN System-wide Earthwatch Coordination, UNEP Geneva