6 June 1998
ICSU Secretariat
51 Bd de Montmorency
75016 Paris, France

The meeting was opened at 9 am on Saturday 6 June 1998 by the Executive Director of ICSU who was also chairing the session. The list of participants is given in Annex 1.


Participants endorsed the IGOS initiative and agreed to work in partnership towards establishing a common agenda for its implementation. Given the heterogeneity of global observations, and requirements for them, participants agreed that a forum should be established in which the Global Observing Systems, their Sponsors, CEOS, IGFA and other parties, such as WCRP and IGBP, can meet in an environment based on principles of best efforts, maximising synergy, and with minimal additional financial obligation. IGOS is a process that can help ensure resources are addressing the highest priority observational needs, taking into account the missions and plans of space agencies and the up-to-date requirements of major international programs. Participants further agreed that there is a requirement to convince/appraise governments of the benefits of working coherently within a spirit of co-operation and that no new formal structure is necessary to achieve this.

The meeting unanimously supported GOSSP in an expanded role within the IGOS Partnership. The revised GOSSP will meet in the September 1998 time-frame.

Executive Summary and Common portfolio:

One outcome of the March 26 1998 preparatory meeting was to adopt a two-phased approach for creating a document to cover the common intent and purpose of the Partners for developing and implementing an Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS).

PHASE 1. The Executive Summary for a consolidated portfolio of documents on IGOS was presented to participants. The preliminary compilation will be reviewed by the Partners.

Arthur Dahl agreed to incorporate IGOS documents on UNEP's Earthwatch web-site to increase their availability.

PHASE 2. A new document, representing a comprehensive IGOS strategy will be prepared, integrating:

(i) elements of the CEOS space component strategy on IGOS, currently in production for presentation to the CEOS Plenary in November 1998, that recognises the need to take into account both space-based and in situ observations, and

(ii) elements of Annex III to the report of the September 1997 meeting of the Sponsors of the Global Observing Systems which outlines the requirements for the G3OSs to work jointly in the development of their IGOS strategy. Arthur Dahl will update Annex III.

The Phase 2 document will identify the common purpose and intent of the Partners in relation to their adoption and implementation of an IGOS.

Arthur Dahl and David Williams will produce the first draft. John Marks will provide input from government perspectives, including how they may wish to see the strategy evolve for them to develop their priorities for funding global environmental change activities. The first draft should be prepared for consideration at the IGFA meeting in October and the CEOS Plenary in November 1998.

A synthesis (eg. 2 pages) should be prepared to assist with promoting the visibility of IGOS to national governments and international bodies, and as a basis for dialogue with secretariats of the appropriate international conventions. John Marks offered to undertake this task with the help of Arthur Dahl.

The Basis for Co-operation:

Partners endorsed the decision of the March meeting that partnership be forged through an exchange of letters among the Partners, rather than through a formal Memorandum of Understanding. An accompanying common Annex would outline their mutual commitments.

Participants supported the initiative and agreed to work together towards establishing a common agenda, including the identification of common goals, for the implementation of an IGOS. However, concerns were raised about the formality of arrangements outlined in the draft Annex prepared by a CEOS/ICSU working group: it was considered too prescriptive and was construed by the Sponsors as imposing new structures.

An abbreviated, alternate draft Annex, prepared by the Sponsors at their June 5 meeting, was discussed. Jeff Tschirley and Brent Smith were tasked to redraft the Annex to include principles, objectives and terms of reference as a basis for developing the IGOS Partnership. The redrafted annex is attached to this report (Annex 2). Partners will separately obtain endorsement within their own organisations for the common Annex and will signal their commitment to participate in the IGOS Partnership through exchange of appropriate letters. The common Annex will be included as an attachment.

Recognising the need to contain meeting frequency and associated resources, a modest degree of organisation will be required to facilitate the IGOS Partnership. Participants therefore agreed to plan Partner meetings as adjuncts to key international events which Partner representatives may be attending, such as the CEOS Plenary and the Sponsors meeting.

Opportunities to link other organisations, such as the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), to IGOS should be encouraged. The private sector was also recognised as having an important potential role in an IGOS.

The Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) raised concerns that the in-situ community had not yet been brought into the conceptual part of an IGOS. GTOS is working on increasing the involvement of its in-situ community.

The name « IGOS Partnership » was adopted to describe the consortium of parties supporting an IGOS.

Status of IGOS Endorsement

CEOS: endorses IGOS. Several CEOS agencies have identified space missions to support specific IGOS Pilot Projects.

GTOS: The in situ community requires time to evolve its representation to be an actively involved community, however, a high level of endorsement is expected at the GTOS Steering Committee meeting on 15-19 June.

IGBP: The Executive Secretary has been informed of IGOS developments. The delegate noted that IGOS Pilot projects are currently attracting funds.

WCRP: The Joint Scientific Committee has endorsed the IGOS concept and has asked the Director to ensure WCRP representation at relevant IGOS meetings.

IOC: The IGOS concept will be raised for endorsement at the next Executive Council meeting in November.

WMO: The last session of the Executive Council endorsed IGOS.

IGFA: IGFA will again address IGOS at its October meeting. The IGFA delegate emphasised the need for governments to be convinced that we are seriously addressing requirements for efficiency in planning observing systems.

GCOS: Involve all parties in developing a comprehensive IGOS strategy. Strongly endorses the need for implementation.

UNESCO/IOC/GOOS: Endorses the need for collaboration based on a set of principles to be incorporated in the revised Annex. Supports a streamlined collegiate/regulatory role for the Sponsors.

Pilot Projects

Projects are important to demonstrate the value of IGOS. Participants agreed that project definition should be the responsibility of the national and international programs that already incorporate the required management and leadership skills and resources.

It was noted that existing Projects may be adopted by the appropriate organisations and that they should be conducted under the auspices of the IGOS Partnership.

Participants require a document that sets out: the purpose of IGOS Pilot Projects, their time-frames, mechanisms for understanding how they are fulfilling their objectives, how to « sunset » Projects, and mechanisms for identification of new Projects.

John Townshend agreed to prepare a document to address issues related to the conduct of IGOS Projects.

Input from IGOS Partners to UNISPACE III

Preparatory activities for the UNISPACE III Conference, Vienna, July 1999, have identified the possibility of conducting an IGOS workshop. Participants agreed to respond jointly to this initiative. It was reported that the Interagency meeting on Outer Space Activities agreed that a three day symposium would be convened by the G3OS Sponsors and would include a session on the Global Observing Systems, possibly in collaboration with CEOS.

A joint response by CEOS and FAO, as representative of the G3OS and their Sponsors, will be made to UNOOSA for preparations for an IGOS workshop at the UNISPACE III Conference.

Summary of Actions

Jeff Tschirley and Brent Smith to redraft the Annex. All participants to review.

Arthur Dahl to update the Integrated Strategic Plan for the Global Observing Systems.

Arthur Dahl, David Williams and John Marks to draft the Phase 2 document.

John Marks and Arthur Dahl to prepare a summary of the Phase 2 document.

John Townshend to address issues related to the conduct of IGOS Projects.

CEOS and FAO to make a joint response to UNOOSA concerning preparations for an IGOS workshop at UNISPACE III.

Venue and Date of next IGOS meeting

The next IGOS Partnership meeting will be held in conjunction with the CEOS Plenary, November 1998, Bangalore. An evening session will be held November 11, 1998.


Mr. Patricio Bernal
1 rue Miollis
75732 Paris Cedex 15
Tel: (33) 145 68 39 83
Fax: (33) 1 45 68 58 12

Ms. Sophie Boyer King
Environmental Sciences Officer
51 Bld de Montmorency
75016 Paris
Tel: 33 1 45 25 03 29
Fax: 33 1 42 88 94 31

Mr Arthur Dahl
Deputy Assistant Executive Director
Division of Environmental Information and Assessment
and Coordinator, UN System-wide Earthwatch
15 chemin des Anemones
1219 Chateleine, Geneva
Tel: 41 22 979 92 07
Fax: 41 22 797 34 71

Mr Brian Embleton
CRC Satellite System (CSIRO)
GPO Box 1483
Canberra ACT 2601
Tel: (61) 26 216 7280
Fax: (61) 26 216 7272

Mr. Jean-Louis Fellous
2 Place Maurice Quentin
75039 Paris Cedex 01
Tel: (33) 1 44 76 75 90
Fax: (33) 1 44767867

Mr. Kusturirangan
Antariksha Bhavan
New Bez Road, Bangalore
560 094 India
Tel: (91) 80 3415241
Fax: (91) 80 3415298

Mr Robert C. Landis
World Weather Watch Department
P.O. Box 2300
1211 Geneva
Tel: 41 22 730 82 21

Mr. John Marks
Ministry OC &W
P.O. Box 25000
2700LZ Zoetermeer
The Netherlands
Tel: (31) 79 323 229
Fax: (31) 79 323 4816

Mr. Mukund Rao
Antariksha Bhavan
New Bez Road, Bangalore
560 094 India
Tel: (91) 80 3417359
Fax: (91) 80 3415298

Mr Brent Smith
1315 East-West Highway
Room 3620
Silver Spring MD 20910
Tel: (1) 301 713 2024 X 103
Fax: (1) 301 713 2032

Mr Tom Spence
Joint Planning Office for GCOS
c/o World Meteorological Organization
P.O. Box 2300
1211 Geneva 2
Tel: 41 22 730 84 01
Fax: 41 22 740 14 39

Mr Jean-François Stuyck-Taillandier
Executive Director
51 Bld de Montmorency
75016 Paris
Tel: 33 1 45 25 03 29
Fax: 33 1 42 88 94 31

Mr Colin Summerhayes
GOOS Project Office
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
1 rue Miollis
75732 Paris Cedex 15
Tel: 33 1 45 68 40 42
Fax: 33 1 45 68 58 12

Mr. Gerard Szejwach
42, av G. Coriolis
31057 Toulouse Cedex
Tel: (33) 1 561 07 85 80
Fax: (33) 1 561 07 85 89

Mr. John Townshend
1113 Lefrak Hall, Dept of Geography
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Tel: (1) 301 405 4558
Fax: (1) 301 314 9299

Mr Jeff Tschirley
Director, GTOS
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome
Tel: 39 6 5705 3450
Fax: 39 6 5705 3369

Mr. Hans Teunissen
c/o WMO
41, av Giuseppe-Motta, CP 2300
CH-1211 Geneva 2
Tel: (41) 22 730 8225
Fax: (41) 22 734 0357

Mr. David Williams
Amkevallieresand 31
Tel: (49) 6151 807 603
Fax: (49) 6151 807 830



IGOS Partnership


The Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS) seeks to provide a comprehensive framework to harmonize the common interests of the major space-based and in-situ systems for global observation of the Earth. It is being developed as an over-arching strategy for conducting observations relating to climate and atmosphere, oceans and coasts, the land surface and the Earthís interior. IGOS strives to build upon the strategies of existing international global observing programs, and upon current achievements. It seeks to improve observing capacity and deliver observations in a cost-effective and timely fashion. Additional efforts will be directed to those areas where satisfactory international arrangements and structures do not currently exist.

Basis for cooperation

Cooperation between the Partners will reflect:

1. The principle of "best efforts" to maintain the commitment to the overall strategy and any specific purpose or project.

2. The principle of "no additional financial obligation" or exchange of funds except with the mutual consent of relevant Partners.

3. The principle of "synergy" among existing efforts, including optimal use of meetings and of resources. Two important meeting opportunities are the CEOS Plenary and meetings of the Sponsors' Group for the G3OS.

4. Organization and reporting responsibilities for IGOS Partnership meetings will rest with the hosting agency.

Terms of Reference

The IGOS Partnership will further the definition, development and implementation of an Integrated Global Observing Strategy. Towards this end, the Partners will:

1. exchange information on the Partnersí relevant activities;

2. promote dialogue between the space agencies and in situ observation communities;

3. identify gaps and seek to address IGOS-related user requirements;

4. identify requirements to strengthen institutional capacity to make integrated global observations;

5. carry out specific activities to develop individual components of the strategy;

6. identify and suggest projects that complement and demonstrate the value of an IGOS; and,

7. promote all aspects of strategy implementation, among national and international agencies, as well as different user groups.


The IGOS Partnership will initially comprise the following partners:

1. Sponsors of the Global Observing Systems (ICSU, FAO, UNEP, UNESCO-IOC, WMO);

2. Global Observing Systems (GCOS, GOOS, GTOS) Program Offices;

3. Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS; comprising member space agencies contributing to an IGOS);

4. International Group of Funding Agencies (IGFA);

5. International Geosphere - Biosphere Programme (IGBP) Program Office;

6. World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Program Office..

Other organizations prepared to contribute to an IGOS may be added as Partners.

IGOS Homepage  Earthwatch Homepage

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