IGOS PARTNERS MEETING
paragraphs regarding Earth observation
1. 1992: Agenda 21
2. 1997: Rio+5 (Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21)
3. 1998:Commission on Sustainable Development Sixth session
· Report of the Secretary-General: Capacity-building, education and public awareness, science, and transfer of environmentally sound technology
CSD 2001 reviews the progress of Earth observation.
CSD 2001 Issues relating to Earth observation
CSD 2002 will be a preparatory meeting for Rio+10.
- Comprehensive review
Governments at the appropriate level, with the cooperation of the relevant United Nations bodies and, as appropriate, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, should:
(b) Ensure a more balanced geographical coverage of the Global Climate Observing System and its components, including the Global Atmosphere Watch, by facilitating, inter alia, the establishment and operation of additional systematic observation stations, and by contributing to the development, utilization and accessibility of these databases;
C. Preventing stratospheric ozone depletion
9.24 (b) Support further expansion of the Global Ozone Observing System by facilitating - through bilateral and multilateral funding - the establishment and operation of additional systematic observation stations, especially in the tropical belt in the southern hemisphere;
D. Transboundary atmospheric pollution
9.28 (a) Establish and/or strengthen regional agreements for transboundary air pollution control and cooperate, particularly with developing countries, in the areas of systematic observation and assessment, modeling and the development and exchange of emission control technologies for mobile and stationary sources of air pollution.
(c) Improvement of data collection and use
40.8 ...... Within the organs and organizations of the United Nations system and relevant international organizations, data-collection activities, including those of Earthwatch and World Weather Watch, need to be strengthened, especially in the areas of urban air, freshwater, land resources (including forests and rangelands), desertification, other habitats, soil degradation, biodiversity, the high seas and the upper atmosphere. Countries and international organizations should make use of new techniques of data collection, including satellite-based remote sensing. ..........
(d) Improvement of methods of data assessment and analysis
40.9 Relevant international organizations should develop practical recommendations for coordinated, harmonized collection and assessment of data at international data and information centers should set up continuous and accurate data-collection system and make use of geographic information systems, expert systems, models and a variety of other techniques for the assessment and analysis of data.. These steps will be particularly relevant, as large quantities of data from satellite sources will need to be processed in the future.
RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
54. There is also a need to strengthen systematic observational networks so as to identify the possible onset and distribution of climate change and assess potential impacts, particularly at the regional level.
112. A supportive environment needs to be established to enhance national capacities and capabilities for information collection, processing and dissemination, especially in developing countries, to facilitate public access to information on global environmental issues through appropriate means, including high-tech information and communication infrastructure related to the global environment, in the light of country-specific conditions, using, where available, such tools as geographic information systems and video transmission technology, including global mapping. In this regard, international cooperation is essential.
Capacity-building, education and public awareness, science, and transfer of environmentally sound technology
Report of the Secretary-General (Excerpt)
III. Global environmental observing systems
12. Pursuant to decisions of their governing bodies, a group of relevant United Nations agencies, in cooperation with ICSU, have started the development of three global observing systems for the oceans, terrestrial ecosystems and climate. The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) was the first to be launched. It grew out of such WMO programmes as the World Weather Watch, and is co-sponsored by ICSU, IOC of UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) is an initiative of IOC and is co-sponsored by WMO, UNEP and ICSU. The Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), launched only in 1996, is co-sponsored by FAO, UNESCO, UNEP, WMO, WHO and ICSU.
Each system is guided by a scientific and technical steering committee of scientists established by the co-sponsors. GOOS also has an intergovernmental committee to enhance its policy relevance. The secretariats for the three systems are hosted as follows: for GCOS, by WMO; for GOOS, by IOC/UNESCO; and for GTOS, by FAO. Cooperation between the three systems is promoted though a Joint Sponsors Group consisting of all sponsoring organizations. In addition to the various scientific panels and/or working groups of each individual system, several joint panels have been established to address issues of common concern, such as remote-sensing data needs, climate change, and data and information management.
13. The overall purpose of the three observing systems is to monitor the climate system, the oceans and the terrestrial ecosystems with a view to managing the environment better now, to forecast how it may change in the future and to provide the basis for sound decisions by policy makers.
All three systems are being built on existing national and international monitoring networks. For example, in the case of GTOS the value of terrestrial ecosystem data and information for scientific assessment, development planning and policy formulation will be substantially increased by drawing together existing databases, monitoring sites and networks into a common framework, and by harmonizing measurements and terminology. An immediate specific benefit for all countries, in particular developing countries, deriving from the three systems is that data will be available on seasonal and inter annual climate variations, land use changes, coastal protection and marine pollution.
14. The three observing systems also seek to provide necessary long-term data to international assessment processes like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and international conventions such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa.
The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has requested its Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice to consider the adequacy of these observation systems and to report on its conclusions to the Conference of the Parties at its fourth session (Buenos Aires, 1998).
All three observing systems necessarily include remote-sensing data gathering and interpretation as a major part of their activities in addition to in situ measurements. Hence, major progress is being made in bringing together the global observing systems with the national space agencies through the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites, with particular emphasis on joint strategic planning. In this respect, the development of an integrated strategic plan for the three global observing systems has begun. It is important that such a strategic plan be, in reality, an overarching planning process for the three systems incorporating both space and in situ observations, while respecting the specificity and independence of each system.
15. All three global observing systems will pay particular attention to facilitating full access by developing countries to the globally comparable data sets resulting from their work. They will represent a new resource for developing countries in their efforts to formulate national environmental strategies and to develop better policy planning tools. Moreover, the observing systems will help developing countries in implementing international environmental conventions and treaties such as those on biodiversity, desertification and climate change. As part of their activities, the three systems will promote the transfer of environmental assessment and management technology,as well as strengthen the technical capacities of relevant national institutions through such activities as training professional staff in measurement and data handling techniques.
16. The fully fledged development and the long-term sustainability of the three observing systems is, how ever, at present far from being assured owing to the shortage of both international core funds and support for national and regional activities contributing to the observing systems.