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(Rio de Janeiro, 7-8 November 2000)

22 September 2000


1. Background

The IGOS Partners, at their fifth meeting, 7 June 2000 in Geneva, discussed the need to strengthen the IGOS Partners Liaison Group they had established in connection with the second IGOS Partners Meeting in November 1998. This recognized that the incoming IGOS-P Chairman would particularly require the support of an efficient, dynamic Secretariat. In discussion, it was agreed that the Liaison Group would explore options and develop a proposal for a permanent Secretariat with balanced representation among those Partners who were prepared to contribute personnel and specific support. 

At the fifth IGOS Partners Meeting, UNEP, WMO, CEOS/EUMETSAT and CEOS/NOAA expressed their readiness to provide support and participate in a new permanent Secretariat. CEOS/INPE subsequently expressed its readiness to provide support and also participate on a permanent basis. Action 5/20 tasked the Liaison Group, together with the incoming IGOS-P Chairman and his representative, to conduct a study to explore options and develop a proposal for a permanent IGOS Secretariat. The IGOS-P Chairman was also tasked to provide the results and a recommendation to Partners by 15 October 2000 for discussion and adoption at the 6th Meeting. 

2. Members of the Secretariat Study Group

Marcio Barbosa (IGOS-P Chairman)
Jose' Luiz Aguirre, CEOS/INPE
Arthur Dahl, UNEP
Donald Hinsman, WMO
Brent Smith, CEOS/NOAA
Jeff Tschirley, GTOS
David Willliams, CEOS/EUMETSAT 

3. Options for a Secretariat

Options considered by the group were the following: 

(a) All Secretariat functions to be provided by the IGOS-P Chairman's organization, with rotation of these duties to the new Chairman and his/her organization (a rotation every six months). 

(b) Establishment of a permanent Secretariat involving dedicated staff (such as contractor specialists) in a fixed location, funded by assessments or contributions from IGOS Partners. 

(c) All Secretariat functions to be contributed by a sole Partner (which has the means to provide such support) with responsibility to work these functions in close collaboration with rotating Chairmen. 

(d) Establishment of a distributed Secretariat based on best efforts staff support contributed by, and well balanced among, several Partners that works closely with the rotating Chairman and his/her organization as well as Partner Points-of-Contact. 

There was a clear preference for Option (d). This effectively reaffirmed the consensus established on this topic at the fifth IGOS Partners Meeting, and is the baseline for the rest of this document. 

4. Proposed Secretariat Tasks

-- Maintain close liaison with the established IGOS Points-of-Contact of those Partners not specifically contributing to the Secretariat; 

-- Support the IGOS-P Chair in development of agendas and in drafting of meeting records for biannual IGOS Partners meetings; 

-- Assist the IGOS-P Chair in the interim period between IGOS Partner meetings, to include tracking of action items, and assuring the distribution and coordination of Theme Team reports and IGOS-P-relevant documents with designated Partner Points-of Contact; 

-- Update, as needed, the IGOS Partners working documents, e.g. Process Paper, and develop other IGOS conceptual documentation for consideration and approval by Partners; 

-- In line with agreed procedures, provide an effective interface between the IGOS Partners/IGOS-P Chair and IGOS Theme Teams:

- Work with Theme Team leaders to assure that themes are developed in accordance with established criteria;
- Advise team leaders on establishing balanced teams, assuring that team members are approved by the IGOS-P Chair;
- Assist team leaders, as appropriate, in interfaces with collaborating committees and organizations;
- Assure that Theme Team reports are circulated to Partners in a timely manner for consideration at upcoming Partners' meetings; and
- Assist team leaders in implementation phases, including coordination, as appropriate, with relevant international environmental conventions. 
-- Provide the interface between the IGOS Partners/IGOS-P Chair and other organizations in the conceptual development and implementation of IGOS-relevant activities including educational and outreach efforts, and promotion of IGOS themes; 

-- Assist, as needed, in liaison with institutions and user groups outside of the Partnership, including those organizations who seek to join or affiliate with the Partnership; and 

-- Facilitate communications among Partner Points-of-Contact through maintenance of an electronic mail list server and web site. 

Secretariat members will pursue their activities via electronic mail and, as necessary, through teleconferences. They are under the direction of the rotating IGOS-P Chairman and his/her representative. The Secretariat will meet at the biannual meeting site both prior to the IGOS Partners meeting as well as immediately afterwards to facilitate accomplishment of IGOS Partners objectives. The Secretariat, together with the Chairman and his/her organization, are responsible for timely preparation of IGOS Partner meeting minutes which will be coordinated in draft with meeting participants. 


The IGOS Partners are asked to discuss the report and agree to:

1. the establishment of a permanent IGOS Partners Secretariat to be staffed through the best efforts contributions of Partners;

2. the offers of UNEP, WMO, GTOS, CEOS/EUMETSAT, CEOS/INPE and CEOS/NOAA to contribute support to the Secretariat; and

3. the outline of Secretariat activities. 

The role of the IGOS Secretariat and delineation of its duties should be reviewed by the Partnership as necessary. 

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