SIXTH IGOS PARTNERS MEETING
(Rio de Janeiro, 7-8 November 2000)
EXTENDING THE IGOS PARTNERSHIP
1. Action 5/19 taken at the 5th IGOS-P meeting in Geneva in June, 2000, asked that the revision of the IGOS Partners' Process paper should also include suggestions on the criteria to be applied when considering the acceptance of new Partners. However, during the drafting of the Process paper it became clear that the subject needed to be dealt with in a separate paper, and that there would be merit in including a recapitulation of the circumstances in which the Partnership came to be created.
2. In response to Agenda 21, which emerged from UNED in 1992, a number of substantial cooperative mechanisms were established designed to meet the recommendations and requirements for better environmental information at national, regional and global levels. IGOS is one such effort, focussing primarily on the observing dimensions of the process of providing environmental information for decision-making.
3 The IGOS Partnership was formally established in June, 1998 after two years of discussions among a number organisations which had come to realise the value of creating an arrangement to facilitate their cooperative efforts. The Partnership currently consists of CEOS, FAO, GTOS, GCOS, GOOS, IBGP, ICSU, IGFA, IOC, UNEP, UNESCO, WCRP and WMO, each organisation having accepted agreed terms of reference (attached as Annex I).
4 The original announcement of the formation of the Partnership in 1998 indicated that other Partners would be welcome to join the Partnership provided that they were willing and able to contribute to IGOS, and, by inference, willing to accept the agreed tenets of the Partnership. No further criteria for further membership were stated.
5. IGOS-P-5 was faced with such a request, and, in the absence of established criteria, it was decided
(i) not to extend the Partnership at the
present time.; and
6. As a backdrop to any extension of the IGOS Partnership, it must be emphasised that the Partnership very much welcomes the participation in theme teams of all who have a valid contribution to make. Even without becoming full IGOS Partners, such entities would be considered as fully-fledged members of the theme team.
7. It follows, therefore, that it only becomes worthwhile engaging the formal process of exchange of letters which constitutes adherence to the Partnership, if the entity concerned is considered able to make a contribution to IGOS as a whole. Coordination at the level of the IGOS Partnership is already rather complicated, and it would be counter-productive to encourage an unnecessary enlargement, particularly as access to participation in the theme teams is so open.
8. It is recommended that, since the way is open to the largest possible participation in IGOS theme teams (and indeed in any other IGOS-P activity):
(i) candidates should be advised first to consider joining specific IGOS-P activities, rather than applying for Partnership status; but
(ii) any request for Partnership status which is nonetheless presented should be considered, first by the Chairman together with the IGOS-P Liaison Group (Secretariat), and that the final decision should be made by consensus in the next IGOS Partnership meeting.
(to be inserted)